Involuntary experiments in former colonies: the case for a moratorium

Hoffmann, Nimi (2019) Involuntary experiments in former colonies: the case for a moratorium. World Development, 127. a104805. ISSN 0305-750X

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There is a rich literature on the use of medical trials as a model for designing and evaluating the outcomes of social policy interventions in former colonies. Yet social experimentalists have not engaged in a correspondingly vibrant discussion of medical ethics. A systematic review of social experiments shows that few studies explicitly discuss informed consent, or the serious constraints on securing informed consent from impoverished or child participants, particularly in the context of cluster randomization. The silence on informed consent, and in some cases active denial thereof, suggests that it is often considered less important than other elements of experimental design. This matters since involuntary experimentation on vulnerable people violates their personhood, increases the risk of unintended harm, and establishes continuities with colonial experimentation. There is a need to develop more effective mechanisms for regulating social experiments in former colonies. In the interim, scholars in the South have a responsibility to call for a moratorium on experiments.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
School of Global Studies > International Development
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2020 09:47
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 02:00

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