(2014) Human Studies 37 (2).

Ethics in action

anonymization as a participant's concern and a participant's practice

Lorenza Mondada

pp. 179-209

Ethical issues are often discussed in a normative, prescriptive, generic way, within methodological recommendations and ethical guidelines. Within social sciences dealing with social interaction, these ethical issues concern the approach of participants during fieldwork, the recordings of audio–video data, their transcription, and their analysis. This paper offers a respecification (in an ethnomethodological sense) of these issues by addressing them in a double perspective: as a topic for research—and not just as a methodological resource—; as a members' concern and not as (only) a researchers' problem. In order to do so, the paper focuses on a particular ethical problem, which has not yet been submitted to analytical scrutiny: the anonymization of the participants. It studies the way in which participants treat their recorded actions as "delicate," and therefore as having to be "anonymized"; as well as the way in which participants implement their practical solutions for the anonymization—by "erasing" or "anonymizing' themselves the recording within the course of their situated action. Adopting the perspective of conversation analysis and ethnomethodology, the paper explores these issues through a sequential analysis identifying the particular moments within social interaction in which problems are pointed at by the participants and the way in which they are locally managed by them.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-013-9286-9

Full citation:

Mondada, L. (2014). Ethics in action: anonymization as a participant's concern and a participant's practice. Human Studies 37 (2), pp. 179-209.

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