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.
Chapter 13: Exploding Anthropology's Canon in the World of the Bomb: Ethnographic Writing on Militarism
Anthropologists value studying what they like and liking what they study and, in general, we prefer the underdog.
The truth of this statement struck me with full force when I began my doctoral dissertation fieldwork, studying a nuclear weapons laboratory, [Page 188]the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and a handful of antinuclear groups in the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area. I encountered three other ethnographers while following the antinuclear groups. Two of these groups had core memberships of less than 10 people, and on bad days, when it was raining and the San Francisco 49ers were on television, ...