Psychological or Sociological Study of Elites

The thought struck me today that it is likely that social elites are probably among the populations least studied in formal psychological or sociological research.

It really stands to reason that they would be. Elite groups aren’t exactly easy to access. They are a small group, of course, and well protected–and probably very protective of their privacy, resistant to having their attitudes and behaviors observed and analyzed, and in possession of the resources to back up that protectiveness and resistance.

Some quick, cursory searches of scholarly literature bear this hypothesis out. But there is some research there. One of the first relevant studies I found is from 1955, no less, published in the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science. It can be read online free if you have a JSTOR account, but it will cost you five bucks if you want to download it.

Happy reading–and I’d love to hear from you if you know of any other good research that’s out there. One thing that comes to mind is that there have been some books and articles published on the prevalence of psychoticism among leaders in organizations, although I’m not sure how empirically oriented they have been. Perhaps I’ll look into this angle as well and post about it in the future.


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