, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 159-163

Cross-cultural social science research and questions of scientific medical imperialism

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Abstract

Concern for the rights and safety of individuals has caused clinical researchers to develop informed consent protocols for research involving human subjects. The applicapability of these regulations to social science research is often tenuous, since such research usually focuses on populations rather than individuals, and potential damage is apt to be political rather than personal. In cross-cultural social research, the protocols developed by Western clinical researchers may be not only ludicrously inapplicable, but intrusive and disruptive within the cultural context, raising questions of the intellectual imperialism of Western research ethics.

This paper was presented at a conference, “In Persuit of Health: Medical-Legal Trends” sponsored by The Northwest Institute of Ethics and the Life Sciences, Seattle, April 27–28, 1977.