Advertisement

Surveying and Observing Political Elites

  • Juan Rodríguez-Teruel
  • Jean-Pascal Daloz
Chapter

Abstract

Surveys and observation are two strategies of inquiry that gather rich amounts of data about political elites’ opinions, attitudes, and behavior. These research techniques have experienced advances benefitting from the development of the Internet and new technological tools. Survey research has evolved from country studies to comparative research with greater amounts of units and cases. However, such studies face important challenges regarding questionnaire design, sampling, interviewing, and data analysis. In particular, problems of representativity and lack of control may threaten comparative analysis. On their side, observation techniques raise the question of accessibility, of potential imbalance between investigators and elites but also, paradoxically, risks of excessive empathy between observer and observed. Wealth of information is a leading hallmark of qualitative research and can give rise to “thick” descriptions and interpretations. Such a contextual “richness,” which provides greater texture and nuance, is highly desirable when the aim is to produce monographic studies. However, it is somewhat more problematic where theoretical ambitions or even comparisons are involved. This chapter offers an overview of both techniques in terms of recent contributions and methodological issues, and suggests how to address these challenges in elite research.

References

  1. Abbink, J., & Salverda, T. (Eds.). (2013). The Anthropology of Elites: Power, Culture and the Complexity of Distinction. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  2. Abélès, M. (1992). La vie quotidienne au parlement européen. Paris: Hachette.Google Scholar
  3. Abélès, M. (2000). Un ethnologue à l’Assemblée. Paris: Odile Jacob.Google Scholar
  4. Aberbach, J. D., Putnam, R. D., & Rockman, B. (1981). Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Aberbach, J. D., Rockman, B., & Bert, A. (2002). Conducting and Coding Elite Interviews. Political Science and Politics, 35(4), 673–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aldridge, A., & Levine, K. (2001). Surveying the Social World. Principles and Practice in Survey Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Andreadis, I., Ruth, S. P., & Stavrakakis, Y. (2016). Using Surveys to Measure the Populist Attitudes of Political Elites. Paper presented at the Team Populism Conference, Provo.Google Scholar
  8. Bäck, H., Magnier, A., & Heinelt, H. (Eds.). (2006). The European Mayor. Political Leaders in the Changing Context of Local Democracy. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  9. Bailer, S. (2014). Interviews and Surveys in Legislative Research. In S. Martin, T. Saalfeld, & K. W. Strøm (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Legislative Studies (pp. 167–193). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Barragán, M. (2015). El estudio de las élites parlamentarias en América Latina: pasado, presente y futuro. Revista Andina de Estudios Políticos, 5(2), 4–30.Google Scholar
  11. Best, H., & Becker, U. (Eds.). (1997). Elites in Transition. Elite Research in Central and Eastern Europe. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  12. Best, H., Lengyel, G., & Verzichelli, L. (Eds.). (2012). The Europe of Elites: A Study into the Europeanness of Europe’s Political and Economic Elites. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Blondel, J., & Müller-Rommel, F. (Eds.). (1993). Governing Together: The Extent and Limits of Joint Decisión-Making in Western Europe Cabinets. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Bolognesi, B., & Perissinotto, R. (2015). O uso do survey no estudo do recrutamento político: 33 limites e vantagens. In R. Perissinotto & A. Codato (Eds.), Como estudar elites. Curitiba: UFPR.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, S. (Ed.). (1999). L’art d’interviewer les dirigeants. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  16. Converse, P. E., & Pierce, R. (1986). Political Representation in France. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cotta, M. (2014). Facing the Crisis: The European Elite System’s Changing Geometry. In H. Best & J. Higley (Eds.), Political Elites in the Transatlantic Crisis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Cotta, M., Isernia, P., & Bellucci, P. (2007). IntUne Mass Survey Wave 1. Ann Arbor: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.Google Scholar
  19. Cotta, M., Isernia, P., & Bellucci, P. (2009). IntUne Mass Survey Wave 2. Ann Arbor: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.Google Scholar
  20. Crewe, E. (2005). Lords of Parliament: Manners, Rituals and Politics. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Crewe, E. (2015). The House of Commons: An Anthropology of MPs at Work. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  22. Daloz, J. P. (2011). Thick Description. In B. Badie, D. Berg-Schlosser, & L. Morlino (Eds.), International Encyclopædia of Political Science (Vol. 8). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. De Vaus, D. A. (2002). Surveys in Social Research. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  24. Deschouwer, K., & Depauw, S. (Eds.). (2014). Representing the People: A Survey among Members of Statewide and Substate Parliaments. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Dexter, L. A. (2006). Elite and Specialized Interviewing. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  26. Dolný, B., & Baboš, P. (2015). Voter–Representative Congruence in Europe: A Loss of Institutional Influence? West European Politics, 28(6), 1274–1304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Egner, B., Sweeting, D., & Klok, P. J. (Eds.). (2013). Local Councillors in Europe. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  28. Essaiason, P., & Holmberg, S. (1996). Representation from above: Members of Parliament and Representative Democracy in Sweden. Aldershot: Dartmouth.Google Scholar
  29. Fenno, R. F. (2003). Home Style: House Members in Their Districts. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  30. García, F., & Mateos, A. (2001). Elites Parlamentarias en América Latina. Revista Española de Ciencia Política, 5, 173–194.Google Scholar
  31. Geertz, C. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  32. Harden, J. J. (2013). Multidimensional Responsiveness: The Determinants of Legislators’ Representational Priorities. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 38(2), 155–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Heinelt, H. (Ed.). (2015). The Changing Context of Local Democracy. Role Perception and Behaviour of Municipal Councillors. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Hertz, R., & Imber, J. B. (Eds.). (1995). Studying Elites Using Qualitative Methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Higley, J., Deacon, D., & Smart, D. (1975). Elites in Australia. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  36. Hoffmann-Lange, U. (1992). Eliten, Macht und Konflikt in der Bundesrepublik [Elites, Power and Conflict in the Federal Republic of Germany]. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  37. Hoffmann-Lange, U. (2007). Methods of Elite Research. In R. J. Dalton & H. D. Klingemann (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Hoffmann-Lange, U. (2008). Studying Elite vs Mass Opinion. In W. Donsbach & M. W. Traugott (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Public Opinion Research. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Jackson, J. S., III, Brown, B. L., & Bositis, D. (1982). Herbert McClosky and Friends Revisited. 1980 Democratic and Republican Party Elites Compared to the Mass Public. American Politics Quarterly, 10(2), 158–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jacob, B. M., & Jacob, P. E. (1977). Leaders’ Values and Community Activeness: The International Study of Values in Politics. In A. Szalai & R. Petrella (Eds.), Cross-National Comparative Survey Research: Theory and Practice. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  41. Jerez Mir, M., Dato, J. R., & García, R. V. (Eds.). (2016). Iberian Elites and the EU: Perceptions of European Integration among Political and Socio-Economic Elites in Portugal and Spain. Granada: Universidad de Granada.Google Scholar
  42. Johnston, R. (2008). Survey Methodology. In J. M. Box-Steffensmeier, H. E. Brady, & D. Collier (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Kim, C., Barkan, J. D., Turan, I., & Jewell, M. E. (1984). The Legislative Connection: The Politics of Representation in Kenya, Korea, and Turkey. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Kitschelt, H., Mansfeldova, Z., Markowski, R., & Toka, G. (1999). Post-Communist Party Systems: Competition, Representation, and Inter-Party Cooperation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kotzé, H., & Steenkamp, C. L. (2009). Values and Democracy in South Africa: Comparing Elite and Public Values. Johannesburg: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  46. Kotzé, H., & Steyn, C. (2003). African Elite Perspectives: AU and NEPAD. A Comparative Study across Seven African Countries. Johannesburg: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  47. Krook, M. L. (2010). Why Are Fewer Women than Men Elected? Gender and the Dynamics of Candidate Selection. Political Studies, 8(2), 155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lavrakas, P. J. (Ed.). (2008). Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  49. Lawless, J. L. (2011). Becoming a Candidate Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lengyel, G., & Jahr, S. (2012). Surveying Elites: Information on the Study Design and Field Report of the IntUne Elite Survey. In H. Best, G. Lengyel, & L. Verzichelli (Eds.), The Europe of Elites: A Study into the Europeanness of Europe’s Political and Economic Elites. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Lerner, D., & Gorden, M. (1969). Euroatlantica: Changing Perspectives of the European Elites. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  52. Lerner, R., Nagai, A., & Rothman, S. (Eds.). (1996). American Elites. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Maestas, C. D., Fulton, S., Maisel, L. S., & Stone, W. J. (2006). When to Risk It? Institutions, Ambitions, and the Decision to Run for the U.S. House. American Political Science Review, 100(2), 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Marcus, G. E. (Ed.). (1983). Elites: Ethnographic Issues. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  55. McClosky, H., & Brill, A. (1983). Dimensions of Tolerance. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  56. Mikecz, R. (2012). Interviewing Elites: Addressing Methodological Issues. Qualitative Inquiry, 18(6), 482–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Moyser, G., & Wagstaffe, M. (Eds.). (1987). Research Methods for Elite Studies. London: Allen & Win.Google Scholar
  58. Norris, P. (Ed.). (1997). Passages to Power: Legislative Recruitment in Advanced Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Norris, P., & Lovenduski, J. (1995). Political Recruitment: Gender, Race and Class in the British Parliament. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Pina-Cabral, J. d., & de Lima, A. P. (Eds.). (2000). Elites: Choice, Leadership and Succession. Oxford: Berg Publishers.Google Scholar
  61. Przeworski, A., & Teune, H. (1970). The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  62. Putnam, R. D. (1976). The Comparative Study of Political Elites. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  63. Real-Dato, J. (2015). Perceptions of the Role of European Union Institutions in the Management of the Eurozone Crisis and Its Consequences: The View from the Perspective of Domestic Political Elites. Paper presented at the Council for European Studies Conference, Paris.Google Scholar
  64. Reif, K., Cayrol, R., & Niedermayer, O. (1980). National Political Parties’ Middle Level Elites and European Integration. European Journal of Political Research, 8(1), 91–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rhodes, R. A. W., ‘t Hart, P., & Noordegraaf, M. (Eds.). (2007). Observing Government Elites – Up Close and Personal. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  66. Ruostetsaari, I. (2015). Elite Recruitment and Coherence of the Inner Core of Power in Finland. Changing Patterns during the Economic Crisis of 1991–2011. London: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  67. Saiegh, S. M. (2009). Recovering a Basic Space from Elite Surveys: Evidence from Latin America. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 34(1), 117–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sanbonmatsu, K. (2006). The Legislative Party and Candidate Recruitment in the American States. Party Politics, 12(2), 233–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sanders, D., Magalhaes, P., & Toka, G. (2012). Citizens and the European Polity. Mass Attitudes towards the European and National Polities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Savage, M., & Williams, K. (2008). Elites: Remembered in Capitalism and Forgotten by Social Sciences. In M. Savage & K. Williams (Eds.), Remembering elites. London: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  71. Shore, C., & Nugent, S. (Eds.). (2002). Elite Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Steen, A. (2003). Political Elites and the New Russia: The Power Basis of Yeltsin’s and Putin’s Regimes. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Stokman, F. N., & Thomson, R. (Eds.). (2004). Special Issue: Winners and Losers of EU Decision-Making. European Union Politics, 5(1), 5–23.Google Scholar
  74. Stolz, K. (2001). The Political Class and Regional Institution-Building: A Conceptual Framework. Regional and Federal Studies, 11(1), 80–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Szücs, S., & Strömberg, L. (Eds.). (2006). Local Elites, Political Capital and Democratic Development Governing Leaders in Seven European Countries. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  76. Tansey, O. (2007). Process Tracing and Elite Interviewing: A Case for Non-probability Sampling. PS: Political Science and Politics, 40(4), 765–772.Google Scholar
  77. Thomson, R. (2006). Comparison of Expert Judgements with Each Other and with Information from Council Documentation. In R. Thomson, F. N. Stokman, C. H. Achen, & T. König (Eds.), The European Union Decides. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Thomson, R., Arregui, J., Leuffen, D., Costello, R., Cross, J., Hertz, R., & Jensen, T. (2012). A New Dataset on Decision-Making in the European Union before and after the 2004 and 2007 Enlargements (DEUII). Journal of European Public Policy, 19(4), 604–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Vogel, L., & Rodríguez-Teruel, J. (2016). Staying on Course in Turbulent Times: National Political Elites and the Crisis of European Integration. Historical Social Research, 41(4), 7–37.Google Scholar
  80. Weatherford, J. M. (1985 [1981]). Tribes on the Hill: The U.S. Congress Rituals and Realities. New York: Rawson-Wade.Google Scholar
  81. Weaver, R. A., & Glasser, T. L. (1984). Survey Research for Legislative Relations. Public Relations Review, 10(2), 39–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Rodríguez-Teruel
    • 1
  • Jean-Pascal Daloz
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.CNRS, SAGEStrasbourgFrance

Personalised recommendations