This article discusses the strategies and country-specific challenges of conducting elite interviews overseas. Drawing on examples from fieldwork undertaken in the Russian Federation, it explores the ways in which the knowledge produced from such interviews is contingent on the analytical approaches selected; the researcher's time-specific entry into the field; issues of ethics; the contemporary political environment; and notions of insider/outsider. Undertaking elite interviews overseas places the researcher in a particularly intense and unique set of power relations with his or her research subjects. This provides both opportunities and challenges, which ultimately have the potential to elicit insights into the personal convictions and beliefs of the political and intellectual elite, as well as the contexts within which they operate.
- elite interviews
- national identity