Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
The paper explores today’s growing challenge of judicialization (recourse to the courts), that creates constraints and dangers for everyone – social anthropologists, their partners and sources. This judicialization and the practices it has created are not new. However, they are now widespread, generating new tensions or actual conflicts and raising questions about the protection of academics and their sources, but also about the production and dissemination of knowledge. The paper takes up this question in a particular historical context. On the one hand, social anthropologists are regularly invited into public debates concerning acts that they have witnessed or investigated. On the other, they are frequently called or forced by the judicial apparatus to testify about what they know. The possibility that they might be obliged to provide access to sources, informants, and testimonies creates situations of political, legal, professional, moral and ethical conflicts, testing the professional secrecy by which researchers consider themselves to be bound, particularly when such access may endanger their partners and sources.