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Building Capacity in Ethical Review

Compliance and Transformation in the Asia-Pacific Region

Rachel Douglas-Jones

Capacity building in biomedical research ethics review has been a European priority since the early 2000s. Prompted by the increase in data originating in internationally sponsored trials in emerging economies, a range of capacity building initiatives were put in place in the field of ethical review to ensure the protection of human subjects participating in research. Drawing on fieldwork with the Forum for Ethical Review Committees in the Asian and Western Pacific Region, I explore two distinct forms taken by capacity building within that organization to support and train members of ethics review committees. The first, with an emphasis on standards and measurability, takes as its priority international accountability for clinical trial research. The second explores how the organization goes about persuading trainees to see and do ‘ethics’ differently. This distinction between forms of capacity allows me to explore what will count as ‘success’ in research ethics capacity building.

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Rachel Douglas-Jones and Justin Shaffner

Capacity building is a pervasive idea that has received little critical treatment from anthropology. In this introduction, we outline the growing use of the idea of ‘capacity building’ within and beyond development settings, and highlight mechanisms by which it gains footholds in both policy and practice. This special issue centres and questions its histories, assumptions, intentions and enactments in order to bring ethnographic attention to the promises it entails. By bringing together cases from different sectors and continents, the collection pursues capacity building’s self-evident character, opening up what capacities themselves are thought to be. By not taking capacity building’s promises for granted, the articles collected here have two aims: to interrogate the means of capacity building’s ubiquity, and to develop critical purchase on its persuasive power.

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Salla Sariola, Simon Roberts and Rachel Douglas-Jones

Wayward Women: Sexuality and Agency in a New Guinea Society. By Holly Wardlow. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2006. ISBN 0-520-24559-8

Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research. By Patricia Sunderland and Rita Denny (eds.). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59874-091-2

Anthropology and Science: Epistemologies in Practice. By Jeanette Edwards, Penny Harvey and Peter Wade (eds.). Oxford, New York: Berg (ASA Monographs 43), 2007. ISBN 978 184520 500 3

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Simon Roberts, Annalise Weckesser-Muthalali, Rachel Douglas-Jones, Monica Janowski and Mari Korpela

Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter: Reflections on Research in and of Corporations. Melissa Cefkin (ed.), Oxford and New York: Berghahn, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84545-598-9 (Hardback) ISBN 978-1-84545-777-8 (Paperback) 262 pp. Hb £50.00 Pb £21.00

Engaging Contradictions: Theory, Politics and Methods of Activist Scholarship. Charles R. Hale (ed.), Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-520-09861-9 (Paperback Only) 417 pp. £24.95

The Anthropology of Organizations. Alberto Corsín Jiménez (ed.), Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-7546-2595-7 (hardback only) 600 pp. £165.00

State, Communities and Forests in Contemporary Borneo. Fadzilah Majid Cooke (ed.), Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2006, ISBN 1-9209425-1-3 (Print Version) 208 pp.

The Nomads of Mykonos: Performing Liminalities in a ‘Queer’ Space. Pola Bousiou, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008, 322 pages, Paperback £15.95, ISBN: 978-1-84545-426-5