An historical perspective of marginalization in the romanian context: implications for research ethics

Sana Loue


Vulnerability may be a consequence of marginalization, of social disorders or just a result of multiple factors (cultural, ethnic, political, economic etc). The semantics may have different meaning in different regions of the world, depending on the historical, social and/or the political context in which the research is to be conducted. The United States has designated the following classes of individuals as vulnerable persons warranting special protection in the context of research: children, pregnant women, and prisoners. In contrast, Uganda has adopted a much broader approach and considers children, orphans and street children specifically, pregnant women, mentally ill and behaviorally disordered persons, prisoners, soldiers on command, and refugees to be vulnerable. Romania has not, to date, formally addressed the need to develop special protections for vulnerable populations, who these vulnerable populations might be in the Romanian context, and what mechanisms might be adopted in the context of research. This article examines the status of several groups in Romania (women, children, homosexuals, ethnic minorities, etc) who, because they exist in one or more dimensions at the fringes of Romanian society, could potentially warrant classification as vulnerable. The article concludes with a discussion of whether individuals within these groups should be considered vulnerable and the implications for research of such classification.

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