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(Un)Ethical Boundaries: Critical Reflections on What We Are (Not) Supposed to Do

Di Feliciantonio, C (2021) (Un)Ethical Boundaries: Critical Reflections on What We Are (Not) Supposed to Do. Professional Geographer. ISSN 0033-0124

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Abstract

Building on critical readings of the rationalities behind ethical committees and their guidelines, this article analyzes how their positivist, biomedical conception of the research process can have a negative impact on research participants who might perceive their voices erased by these institutional practices. Using examples from my recent research with gay men living with HIV in England and Italy, I show how research participants have contested the General Data Protection Regulation guidelines I was following in relation to the use of pseudonyms and the depersonalization of data and the sharing of interview transcripts. Questioning the fixity of the position of the researcher and the research participants assumed in ethical guidelines, the article explores the impact of the encounter with research participants on the researcher’s life course well beyond data collection and analysis, emphasizing the need for a different care ethics.

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