Subjectivity, Power, and the IRB

Deborah G. Martin, Joshua F. Inwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A substantial literature in social sciences, including law and society, examines the intersections of research ethics and institutional review board (IRB) frameworks. Although geographers have engaged this literature, we argue that further involvement in ethical and regulatory discussions will advance opportunities for better understanding and negotiating the complex subjectivities produced in the IRB structure. Drawing on illustrative experiences of researchers, we focus specifically on the institutions convening IRBs, the researchers, and the human "subjects" produced in the IRB process. We conclude with a call for greater open discussion of the power dynamics, subjectivities, and challenges of formal ethical research structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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