Anthropology, Ethics, and the U.S. Military: A History and Possibility for Constructive Engagement



Moss, Kathryn

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This thesis describes the history of the engagement between the discipline of anthropology, its ethical principles, and the U.S. military. This history reveals how the lack of a constructive engagement between anthropology as a whole and the military has been shaped by the discipline’s evolving engagement with the U.S. military, from direct support to reimagined or exaggerated ethical crises. With the disciplines tradition of reflexivity, whereby anthropologists analyze their own relationship to their research object, anthropology has begun to open the aperture on a potential subdiscipline of military anthropology and accepting the work and narratives of the anthropologists duly involved. In the process of researching and writing this thesis, the author conducted a literature review and interviews with anthropologists and members of the U.S. military. This thesis is intended to be part of the conversation for anthropologists in all subdisciplines who have concerns about anthropological ethics and working with the U.S. military, as well as members of the U.S. military who are interested in continued engagement with the discipline of anthropology.



U.S. military, Ethics, Code of ethics, Anthropology