In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country?a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets?among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident?people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.
Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that these are people who have been duped into voting against their own interests. Instead, Hochschild finds lives ripped apart by stagnant wages, a loss of home, an elusive American dream?and political choices and views that make sense in the context of their lives. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in "red" America. Along the way she finds answers to one of the crucial questions of contemporary American politics: why do the people who would seem to benefit most from "liberal" government intervention abhor the very idea?
Reviews, Awards, and Endorsements:
2016 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR NONFICTION
A 2016 NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEWSDAY TOP 10 BOOK OF THE YEAR
A KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF 2016
One of "6 Books to Understand Trump's Win" according to the New York Times the day after the election
"This is a smart, respectful and compelling book."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Satisfying... [Hochschild's] analysis is overdue at a time when questions of policy and legislation and even fact have all but vanished from the public discourse."
—The New York Review of Books
"Hochschild moves beyond the truism that less affluent voters who support small government and tax cuts are voting against their own economic interest."
"An important contribution to the understanding of our times... Strangers in Their Own Land describes in vivid detail a world that is often ignored or caricatured by the media and by many liberals."
"[Hochschild's] deeply humble approach is refreshing and strengthens her research.... She skillfully invites liberal readers into the lives of Americans whose views they may have never seriously considered. After evaluating her conclusions and meeting her informants in these pages, it's hard to disagree that empathy is the best solution to stymied political and social discourse."
"Arlie Hochschild journeys into a far different world than her liberal academic enclave of Berkeley, into the heartland of the nation's political right, in order to understand how the conservative white working class sees America. With compassion and empathy, she discovers the narrative that gives meaning and expression to their lives?and which explains their political convictions, along with much else. Anyone who wants to understand modern America should read this captivating book."
—Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley
"The celebrated sociologist Arlie Hochschild left Berkeley and went far outside her comfort zone to live among and report on Tea Party members in Louisiana over five years. With the clear-headed empathy she is famous for, she explored the central paradox of these political activists in the heart of 'cancer alley': they understand that the chemical and oil companies have destroyed their environment and sometimes their lives, but they remain ardent defenders of free market capitalism. Hochschild spent many hours?at church services, picnics and kitchen tables?probing the ways they struggle to reconcile their conflicting interests and loyalties. There could not be a more important topic in current American politics, nor a better person to dissect it. Every page?every story and individual?is fascinating, and the emerging analysis is revelatory."
About the Author:
Arlie Russell Hochschild is one of the most influential sociologists of her generation. She is the author of nine books, including The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, and The Outsourced Self. Three of her books have been named as New York Times Notable Books of the Year and her work appears in sixteen languages. The winner of the Ulysses Medal as well as Guggenheim and Mellon grants, she lives in Berkeley, California.