Elites and Political Leadership
Number of members: 231
The primary goal of the Standing Group on Elites and Political Leadership (SGOEPL) is to provide a formal framework to communicate, meet, share and disseminate research, ideas and data among scholars whose interests extend to the realm of social and political elites and political leadership. These elites include but are not restricted to executive-level political elites, non-elected elites (e.g. bureaucrats), judicial elites and legislative elites (party leaders, parliamentary leaders and officers), media elites and business elites. SGOEPL is committed to the creation, promotion and dissemination of rigorous, empirically tested research. SGOEPL will draw together scholars researching elites and political leadership to provide an intellectual space for the development and dissemination of scholarly activity across the broad range of leadership and elite study. There are naturally synergies between research on political leadership and elites.
Elite activities of interest include elite careers, networks and the political and social origins/consequences/outputs of elite activity. Research which focuses on comparative ministerial appointment and deselection at the national, subnational and supranational levels of government will serve as a core pillar of the SGOEPL mandate. However, interest in the origins, organization and effects of political career paths has recently extended to explore and explain the patterns of bureaucratic, party and judicial elite careers on wider political and social phenomenon; e.g. post-political career trajectories. Further, advances in the ability to easily mine and harvest social media data now provides us with the opportunity to conduct complex computer-assisted network analysis which in turn facilitates research on the links between political and social elites via media, business and private networks.
The study of political leaders and leadership draws on fundamental cross-disciplinary notions of structure and agency and relates to political elites in terms of shared theoretical foundations and the methods that enrich and energise the field. Interests extend to the following: the style and impact of individual leaders; forms and categories of political and public leadership; relational aspects analysing the complex transaction between leaders and followers; and institutional constraints on the exercise of political authority. Elite networks and the immediate support groups (staff etc.) of leaders often overlap or are forming complex social and political networks that require both empirical and theoretical investigation that can be addressed by the SGOEPL. Beyond formal institutional leadership and executive arrangements, the SGOEPL will also reach out to scholars researching political and social counter elites. Such research includes more informal forms of leadership, for instance in social and political movements.
"Aristocracies … may preserve themselves longest, but only democracies, which refresh their ruling class, can expand" - Hugh Trevor-Roper