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Abstract

Anthropologists working in the field of development may encounter a number of difficult ethical issues, although there is comparatively little literature that directly addresses such dilemmas. Potential concerns include questions of access to development and participation in projects and plans; questions about how research is used; issues of power differentials in the field; and the problem of ownership of knowledge. Participatory development research rhetoric and practice has in part arisen out of recognition of these ethical concerns. Through an examination of the history of international development research, and the bases upon which participation lies, it is argued that the concept of participation is not without its own ethical dilemmas and assumptions. A discussion of the history and interpretation of development and participation in parts of rural Nepal is used to illustrate this argument.

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