Anthropologists & Sex/Violence

So you have all these anthropologists in distant jungles studying the aboriginal people. I’ve read a lot of that stuff over the years (mostly as a kid and in National Geographics) and to me the anthrops always came across as detached scientific guys, looking at the savages like other scientists might study raccoons or protoplasm. But the fact is that they are humans as are their subjects, and I’ve wondered about the human interaction between the two. (Especially as their subjects probably can’t relate to the whole concept of scientific study to begin with.) And these people spend long stretches of time in these isolated places.

So, what about sex? Do any of these anthrops find themselves becoming strangely attracted to some of their “subjects” after the long months in the jungle? I imagine it might violate some scientific code to form a relationship or otherwise conjugate with the subjects, but who is to know? And people do a lot of things of this sort that violate all sorts of codes. But I’ve never heard of such a thing happening.

And so too for violence. Many of these cultures being studied are extremely violent, including headhunters and the like. And yet, the anthrops seem strangely immune to all this. Somehow the natives know that you don’t touch scientists. Is this for real?

And then there’s the combination of sex and violence, i.e. rape. You would think that even if the anthrops were consistently above sexual relations with the tribespeople, the latter themselves might have other ideas. Most of these cultures don’t have precisely the same moral guidelines as Western civilizations do, and you would think it might occur to some primitive guy that this anthropologist babe might make a good wife or at least be good for a short-term fling. But you never hear of this either.

Or maybe just I don’t. I’m not an expert on any of this. Perhaps others can fill me in.

Google is your friend.

A search on anthropologist killed

Here’s a book titled Sex, Sexuality and the Anthropologist.

That’s just a start.

I’m not an expert, but I do know that studies of sex and violence are not withour controversy. Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon called the Yanomamo of South America “The Violent People” and claimed that a third of the adult males die of violence due to intertribal warfare. This has, I know, been disputed.

I’ve seen films of such interactions, and certainly the non-tribbal individuals (like the cameraman) haven’t been threatened – they’re not part of the tribews, and not involved in the disputes. I gather that they are viewed as noncombatants, as are most of the people in both tribes – this isn’t Modern 21st Century Total War.
Similarly, it’s hard to get good, reliable information on sex as well. There was the well-publicized flare-up about Margaret Mead and her book “Coming of Age in Samoa”, which Derek Freeman claimed was based on unreliable informants:

Here’s a description of a fieldworker observing a murder:

Nevertheless, anthropologists do get good and relatively uncontested data on sex and war – heck, they gather it on 21st century Americans. There are various ways to establish trust and maintain confidences.
As for Rape (and other such acts), I suspect most of it is learned about after the fact. I have no idea how an anthropologist would deal with an issue being witnessed. Certainly it’s a big issue – here’s A Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology from the American Anthropology association:

Haven’t read that one, but I have read the one right under it, Taboo: sex, identity, and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork. It covers pretty much exactly what the OP is asking, If your local university has a cultural anthropology program there’s a good chance that they’re both in the library.