In Case 11 pg. 120 of Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues, the moral issue at stake is whether the researcher’s decision to not report the members of the car-theft ring to the police was morally correct. The parties involved are the sociologist/researcher and the people in the urban slum that she is studying. The relationship at stake is of an asymmetrical nature since the researcher is dependent upon the people, their trust, and acceptance in order to obtain information for her study (Burnor and Raley 257).
Considering the foundation of an ethics of care, this perspective can be applied to this case. According to Burnor and Raley, many care theorists believe that moral responsibilities are dependent on specific types of relationships. In this instance, the relationship is between the two parties involved. The sociologist cannot acquire substantiated research without having the trust of the people and as such, being trustworthy. “Trust must be earned. Trust can only develop as people interact with each other and grow in all the various aspects of mutuality (e.g., in increasing knowledge and concern for each other)” (Burnor and Raley 262) With this in mind, the researcher is morally right in her decision to not report the car-theft ring to the police.
It is noteworthy that when it comes to the two moral perspectives, men are often inclined towards the justice perspective, while women often adopt the care perspective; which is true for this case (Burnor and Raley 256).
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