Ethical Guidelines of the German Association of Social and Cultural Anthropology (GASCA)

Ethical Guidelines of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology 


  • These guidelines are to serve as orientation for conscious ethical decisions and actions among social anthropologists during the time of training and later in professional life.
  • They are by no means complete. As such they are not substitutes for personal responsibility when it comes to making decisions and acting on them.
  • They are no codex; rather they serve only as guides for critical self-examination in decision-making processes.
  • Besides we would like to call attention to the ethical guidelines of the consortium “Development Ethnology” as laid down by the German Society for Social Anthropology/ Ethnology (AGEE).

1. Respect

  • We do respect different opinions and other lifestyles.
  • Being conscious of our own social imprint and cultural identity in investigating other cultural values, we also take great care not to use our own values as yardstick in judging others in our scientific research and study.
  • We include in our research and study the meaning and relevance of every theme in accordance with the wider social context of each society under investigation.
  • Hence, we are obliged to work with the highest degree of scientific objectivity.

2. Responsibility

  • We do bear the scientific and moral responsibility for our research and are prepared to face possible consequences for our actions to members of the societies we study.
  • Our prior obligation is to humans rather than scientific discourse.

3. Transparency

  • We are ready, if necessary, to render account to the public for the aims, methods and motivations of our work.
  • For this reason we are available for scientific and public discussions.

4. Data Privacy Protection

  • We do respect the personal rights of our informants by handling all information with confidentiality, and to treat all sensible data (names, places etc.) with anonymity.
  • We conduct scientific investigations only with the explicit consent of all parties involved.

5. Declaration

  • We make our anthropological findings and expertise available to ours and other societies. In this way, we contribute to the conveying of knowledge about different lifestyles and various ways of looking at reality.
  • By the conveying of different values, we always reflect on our own cultural background. In this way we learn to understand ourselves more from the perspectives of other societies.

These ethical guidelines were passed by the participants of the seminar “The Value of Life – Social Anthropology and Ethical debates” organised by Dr. Sabine Klocke-Daffa in Winter semester 2004/2005.

They were then approved by the institute’s board of directors on the 6th of May, 2005.