chapter  8
Ethics, entanglement, and political ecology
Pages 10

Introduction The subject of research ethics is one that has provoked and aggravated me throughout my entire academic life. The difficulties I encountered doing fieldwork in Guatemala as a white woman and citizen of the United States brought the question of complicity with empire to the fore, forcing me to examine the politics and ethics of knowledge production (Sundberg 2003, 2005). In what ways do geopolitical relations condition research? What are the ethics of producing knowledge under imperial conditions? And, how do geopolitics inform what comes to count as research ethics? Years of struggling with these issues have convinced me there is no disinterested place from which to engage in research and, therefore, to practice research ethics. For me, the burning question now is what it means to start from a place of entanglement, as scholars situated in and often beneficiaries of the very politico-economic systems under consideration in our research. This chapter asks how the interpretation and practice of ethics are transformed when knowledge production is framed in terms of entanglement. I begin by examining the ethical dilemmas of research as I see them. I then elaborate the notion of entanglement and ask what this shift implies for ethics.