Few social researchers study elites because elites, by their nature, are very difficult to access. The contributors to this volume provide valuable insights on how researchers can successfully penetrate elite settings. As the authors reflect on their experiences, they provide constructive advice as well as cautionary tales about how they learned to maneuver and become accepted in a world that is often closed to them. This book's coverage includes three broad research domains: business elites, professional elites, and community and political elites. Although the studies focus on qualitative methodology, even researchers who emphasize more quantitative methods will benefit from this volume's thoughtful observations on how researchers gather data, construct interview strategies, write about their subjects, and experience the research process. A wide range of researchers in organizational studies, sociology, political science, and many other fields will find this volume to be an important guide to the many subtle and elusive features of conducting successful research with these groups.

Community and Political Elites

Community and Political Elites
Community and political elites

Despite the public visibility of community and political elites, the authors in this section present the hurdles they had to overcome in defining themselves as researchers in relation to those who have power in communities and politics. Each of them tells a different story about how they came to understand the unique contexts in which their identities as researchers became as important to define as the subjects of the studies themselves. What worked in one context may not necessarily work in another.

Susan Ostrander discusses her past work on upper-class women and several non-profit agencies including her present research on a radical philanthropic organization. From her point of view, the problem of conducting such research does not center so ...

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