Author Archives: Robert Albro

About Robert Albro

Scholar-in-residence at American University. Trained as a sociocultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, he served as chair of the American Anthropological Association’s Commission on Anthropology’s Engagement with the Security and Intelligence Communities. His most recent co-edited book, Anthropologists in the SecurityScape: Ethics, Practice, and Professional Identity (Left Coast, 2012), uses a dialogic format to examine the range of disciplinary practice in contexts of national security, with particular attention to associated dilemmas of professional identity.

Practicing Ethics and Ethical Practice: Anthropologists and Military Humanitarians

Plemmons and Albro examine anthropological research practice and ethics, in the context of the expanding security regime in the U.S. With particular attention to the perceived value of disciplinary methods and expertise for emerging military humanitarian interventions, for which sociocultural knowledge is deemed crucial, they consider a long-standing disciplinary anxiety about “secret and clandestine” work for the security state. Exploring how anthropological knowledge is fundamentally co-produced with counterparts “in the field,” they emphasize the irreducibility of secrecy as part of research relationships. The article also seeks to sharpen appreciation for ethics as a negotiated feature of disciplinary practice.