Complete this quote: “Cultures encode proprieties by…”

Complete this quote:

“Cultures encode proprieties by…”

This week’s quote comes from page 168 of Dr Lisa Wynn‘s book, Pyramids & Nightclubs: A travel ethnography of Arab and Western Imaginations of Egypt, from King Tut and a Colony of Atlantis to Rumors of Sex Orgies, Urban Legends about a Marauding Prince, and Blonde Belly Dancers which was featured in last year’s Sex Round Up. In a post derived from her Academic Publishing Workshop, Lisa shares some of her hints and tips for those of us who wish to publish.

Dr Lisa Wynn is a strong advocate of ethical research. Chapter one of her book, Pyramids & Nightclubs, is a refreshing encounter with an Anthropologist who is willing to be completely transparent about her methodology and ethical decision-making in fieldwork. In 2008, Lisa headed up a project to create an online training module for Ethics in the Social Sciences. This is an open-access resource that is free for anyone interested in learning more about research ethics. Dr Wynn wrote about the ethics training module for Culture Matters and for Material World. The online training module has also been reviewed at the Institutional Review Blog. It is a great resource for teachers and an engaging training program for students. While there are already a number of online training modules for Ethics in Biomedical research, Lisa’s initiative answers the need for a similar training program for academics, researchers and students in the humanities.

Human Research Ethics for the Social Sciences and Humanities

Lisa is currently conducting an online study that aims to understand ethnographers’ subjective experience of ethics oversight.  The online survey asks people to date when they recall becoming aware of local requirements to get ethics committee approval for ethnographic research, and the extent to which they comply.  Lisa is hoping to get a large enough scale of responses to enable her to map out the timing of the wave when anthropologists started to submit to the oversight of ethics bureaucracies in different parts of the world.

This project comes out of Lisa’s experiences at graduate school in the U.S. during the 90s.  When she first left for the field, nobody she knew was getting ethics approval for their dissertation fieldwork, though they did have to talk about research ethics with a local departmental committee. However, by the time they came back from the field, graduate students were all getting formal ethics committee approval before starting research.  For a long time, Lisa felt furtive, like she had somehow failed to do something that she was supposed to do, and wondered whether she would ever be accused of unethical research practice (even though she had never acted in an unethical way according to her own understanding). At the time, Lisa didn’t understand that it was a changing era.  Now that she has a bit more perspective, she is interested in knowing more about other researchers’ experiences of this process. Lisa hopes to compare the attitudes of researchers who spent most of their careers not seeking ethics clearance, with a younger generation for whom it has always been standard, and those who started their research under one regime and now live under another.

Please circulate the below link to faculty and grad students from your department who have done or are preparing to do ethnographic research.  The survey is available online at:

The survey takes between 10-15 minutes, depending on how detailed your responses are (one grad student for whom English is a second language reported that it took 12 minutes to complete). So it definitely won’t take too much time.

All responses will, of course, be anonymous, and Lisa will report aggregate results on the Culture Matters blog.  Please contact Lisa if you have any questions about this study or survey instrument.

Dr Lisa Wynn‘s posts for Culture Matters have also appeared in Wednesday Roundup #45Wednesday Round Up #74, Wednesday Round Up #86, Wednesday Round Up #94, Getting it into print, Four Stone Hearth #71 and The best of Anthro-blogging. Her post Viagra Soup is available at Savage Minds.

If you enjoy our weekly « Complete this quote » you might be interested in looking at our responses from previous weeks. We always love it when someone adds another witty reply to our older posts!
“There is considerable debate surrounding the issue of…”
“The convergence of neurology and cross-cultural research provides…”
“How does this cultural memory work ? The answer…”
« Bien entendu, il y a encore un gouffre béant entre ce que nous savons actuellement et la compréhension réelle… »
“Before any attempt is made to hypnotize a Subject for the first time it is highly desirable that the Hypnotist…”
“In a small, dark room at the lab of a large university hospital…”

“…the theories, technologies and findings of molecular biology, evolutionary developmental biology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, linguistics and anthropology can be productively combined to…”

“If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…”
“Shaped like a little like a loaf of French country bread, our brain is…”
“There is no scientific study more vital to man than…”
“You have brains in your head, you have…”

Please reply below and let us know how you would complete this quote:

“Cultures encode proprieties by…”

Published by

Paul Mason

I am a biomedically trained social anthropologist interested in biological and cultural diversity.

9 thoughts on “Complete this quote: “Cultures encode proprieties by…”

  1. Hi Paul
    I love the illustration you’ve used in this post !
    I would love to repost it on my blog, could you please tell me what was the image source ?
    Thanks a lot

      1. Wow, good job Paul, the result is great, I love that kind of humour. I guess if it’s a creative commons I should credit both Neuroscience for kids and you then ? If that’s ok with you of course.

      2. I understand you are using the image for non-profit purposes so please have fun with it! I’m glad that it brought a smile to your dial 🙂

        Admittedly, although the website stated that they did not require any credit at the time I accessed it in 2008, I still should have mentioned the creative commons agreement in my post rather than waiting to write about it in the comments. It would have made the process simpler for you had I wrote a description under the image. sorry.

  2. “Cultures encode proprieties by nature’s undying benevolence against societies!”

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