Revisiting the un/ethical: the complex ethics of elite studies research

Ayling, Pere (2020) Revisiting the un/ethical: the complex ethics of elite studies research. Qualitative Research. pp. 1-16. ISSN 1468-7941

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Abstract

Current ethical codes inadequately speak to the complexities of researching elite groups. These
groups contribute to broader inequalities and yet are protected from scrutiny by their own
resources and, in the research context, ethical guidelines. For this reason, Gaztambide-Fernández
(2015) called for those researching elite groups to adopt an ‘un/ethical’ position. This position
circumvents conventional ethical codes to disrupt the power of research participants. In this
paper, we put forward a considered assessment of this position. We reflect on and theorise
our own experiences in the field from this ethical perspective, paying particular attention to
our multifaceted insider/outsider statuses. We find that an un/ethical position offers shortterm
benefits but also does long-term damage to the elite studies scholar community. Thus, we
counter-propose a way forward that dismantles power relations while avoiding the drawbacks
of the un/ethical approach. Our proposal continues a necessary discussion around the ethics of
elite studies research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: research ethics, elites, elite education, qualitative research, social justice
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: Pere Ayling
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2020 12:53
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2020 15:50
URI: http://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474

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