there is a classic story of an ethnographer in the PNG highlands, who knew some of his subjects were going to murder members of another family, i think they were accused of witchcraft against someone. anyway, this ethnographer decided not tointervene and sat by why these people were macheted to death a few houses down. it brings up the classis question of cultural positivism. should you remain impassive? however, by being there in the first place, by providing an audience, the ethnographer is always affecting the situation. noone knows really anthropologically speaking whether this man did the right thing or not.
have a look at this article on the ethnographer's dilemma
· 1 decade ago