Over the past three decades, our daily lives have changed slowly but dramatically. Boundaries between leisure and work, public space and private space, and home and office have blurred and become permeable. How many of us now work from home, our wireless economy allowing and encouraging us to work 24/7? How many of us talk to our children while scrolling through e-mails on our BlackBerrys? How many of us feel overextended, as we are challenged to play multiple rolesworker, boss, parent, spouse, friend, and clientall in the same instant?
Dalton Conley, social scientist and writer, provides us with an X-ray view of our new social reality. In Elsewhere, U.S.A., Conley connects our daily experience with occasionally overlooked sociological changes: women’s increasing participation in the labor force; rising economic inequality generating anxiety among successful professionals; the individualism of the modern erathe belief in self-actualization and expressionbeing replaced by the need to play different roles in the various realms of one’s existence.
In this groundbreaking audiobook, Conley offers an essential understanding of how the technological, social, and economic changes that have reshaped our world are also reshaping our individual lives.
“This brilliant new book makes sense of how changes in the ways people work are affecting the ways families work. Conley writes with the grace of a novelist and the insight of a rigorous scholar.” –Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)|
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Left the station
Dalton Conley has written a book that rally showed what our society has become - urban zombies! What with the internet, cell phones and working from home, we have become a society that is no longer aware of the world and people around us. Do we enjoy our lives like they did fifty years ago? Are we all about the almighty dollar and the aggressive struggle to reach richness? This book explains what we once were and what we have become. I can understand what Mr. Conley writes about because many a day, I find my wife with two laptops on her couch while she is texting one coworker or another. Technology may be a good thing but are we giving up our individuality to have it all? I recommend this book to everyone.
This little book is built around the self-evident observation that lifestyle boundaries in he U.S. have blurred over the past 50 years. But although the Elsewheres are identified as vintage 2009, the book was published in 2008 and has not been updated to reflect the crash of financial and housing markets late in that year. It ignores that some professional work will ALWAYS pay more than others, regardless of hours spent on the job. And it never elaborates on the frightening statistic (p.18) that "today, the risk of a 50 percent income drop from one year to the next is over twice as great for the typical American family as it was in 1970." The author pays homage to a golden age when Americans actually "made stuff" yet appears oblivious to the economic value of convenience and comfort, however intangible and subjective those commodities may be. Furthermore, the people he describes seem disconnected from the influences of extended family and social networks, both secular and religious. These remain powerful forces in American life, although probably not in Mr. Conley's hip urban environment. That said, I'm still glad I read this book, and I believe it offers great opportunities for animated discussion. Personally, my favorite character in the narrative is the author's son, who learned at an early age to cut off the transatlantic connection on his mother's computer. What a smart kid!