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In Defense of the Lone Wolf: Collaboration in Language Documentation

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Title:In Defense of the Lone Wolf: Collaboration in Language Documentation
Authors:Crippen, James A.
Robinson, Laura C.
Keywords:language documentation
lone wolf
ethical research
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Date Issued:Aug 2013
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Crippen, James A. and Laura C. Robinson. 2013. In Defense of the Lone Wolf: Collaboration in Language Documentation. Language Documentation & Conservation. 7:123-135.
Abstract:Collaboration has become a hot topic in the field of language documentation, with many authors insisting that lone wolf research is unethical research. We take issue with the viewpoints that documentary linguists must collaborate with the community, that the linguist’s goals should be subordinate to the goals of community members, and that solo research is necessarily unethical research. Collaborating with community members in language documentation projects is not the only method of treating the community fairly and reciprocating their generosity. There will not always be community members interested in language documentation, nor will there always be community members capable of participation. Even in cases where community members are interested, capable, and willing, both the researcher and the community should be allowed to decide when, where, how, and whether to collaborate. Moreover, we suggest that the insistence on collaboration can cause guilt when collaboration is difficult, or can lead researchers into unproductive or even dangerous situations. On the other hand, we welcome collaboration if both parties retain autonomy in decision-making and both truly want to work collaboratively. There
is nothing unethical about setting one’s own research agenda and conducting linguistic fieldwork alone. Lone wolf linguistics isn’t necessarily unethical linguistics.
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported
Journal:Language Documentation & Conservation
Appears in Collections: Volume 07 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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