"Environment / ritual / research ethics: Crisscrossing issues in anthropology and religious studies"
by: Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University (2002)
Published on: 8/1/2002
Environment, ritual and research ethics are separate strands; their occasional convergence is our topic here. This review essay's starting point is Linda Silka's working paper, "Rituals and Research Ethics" (2001). In a way, Silka's primary title does not encapsulate the central theme of her paper, more clearly expressed after the colon: "Using One Community's Experience to Reconsider the Ways that Communities and Researchers Build Sustainable Partnerships." Thus I see her focus to be on the dynamic, negotiated success of a series of related community projects in Lowell, Massachusetts. These projects have incorporated, among other things, some elements of ritual; they have also involved a kind of ethical reflexivity from their inception. Moreover, as Silka portrays the process, these two crucial elements are mutually constitutive: ethical reflexivity has allowed Lowell's Southeast Asian Environmental Justice Partnership to sustain its successful educational and environmentalist endeavors, for which the Southeast Asian Water Festival offers a showcase, with tangible, shared economic benefits as well.