Bioethics Quarterly

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 159-163

First online:

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

  • Oliver H. OsborneAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Washington

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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.