Dangerous youth or dangerous research: On the development of strategies in ethic situations and dilemmas in research with young male gang members

  • Kirsten Elisa Petersen
Keywords: Subjectoriented ethics, youth gangmember, social research, research with youth, qualitative research.

Abstract

This article explores how research along with young men in gangs challenges the traditional moral, legal, and professional ethical guidelines in social research, especially in relation to protection, confidentiality and anonymization when conducting so-called dangerous research. Based on an ongoing research project involving 15 young gang members’ stories about their upbringing, everyday life, and the social pedagogical interventions they have been subject to, the article explores a number of ethical situations and dilemmas that emerged. It focuses on the dangerous aspect of research with the young gang members, i.e. research that may be dangerous for young gang members to participate in and dangerous for the researcher to conduct. It shows how this intensifies ethical and moral considerations that need further exploration and leads to a discussion of ethical guidelines in social research. The article argues researchers to make the dangerousness of their projects clear and the relevant ethical issues and to deploy the concept of subject-oriented ethics. This concept may encompass a number of ethical dilemmas and situations that arise in dangerous research with young gang members, especially when developing ethical strategies along with the young people.

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Published
2019-02-28