Studying Elites Using Qualitative Methods

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Few social researchers study elites because elites, by their nature, are 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 sometimes otherwise 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 subtle and elusive features of conducting successful research with elite groups.

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Editorial Reviews

Thirteen essays focus on how researchers have successfully gained access to elite settings, how they have come to terms with various dilemmas in conducting and writing about their research, and the decisions made with hindsight about their research. The contributors reflect on their experiences, providing constructive advice as well as cautionary tales about how they learned to maneuver and become accepted in a world otherwise closed to them. The coverage includes three broad research domains: business elites, professional elites, and community and political elites. Paper edition (unseen), $24.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Pt. I Business Elites 1
1 Interviewing Important People in Big Companies 3
2 Reaching Corporate Executives 18
3 Fielding Hot Topics in Cool Settings: The Study of Corporate Ethics 40
4 Using Electronic Media to Support Fieldwork in a Corporate Setting 65
5 Tales From the Field: Learning From Researchers' Accounts 72
Pt. II Professional Elites 81
6 Stopping the Spin and Becoming a Prop: Fieldwork on Hollywood Elites 83
7 Reflections on Fieldwork in a Complex Organization: Lawyers, Ethnographic Authority, and Lethal Weapons 94
8 Negotiating Status: Social Scientists and Anglican Clergy 111
9 How I Learned What a Crock Was 124
Pt. III Community and Political Elites 131
10 "Surely You're Not in This Just to Be Helpful": Access, Rapport, and Interviews in Three Studies of Elites 133
11 Local Knowledge and Local Power: Notes on the Ethnography of Local Community Elites 151
12 Research as a Communication Act: A Study on Israeli Women in Local Politics 171
13 Exploding Anthropology's Canon in the World of the Bomb: Ethnographic Writing on Militarism 187
About the Contributors 206
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