Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

by Arlie Russell Hochschild


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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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620972250
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 271,639
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Part 1 The Great Paradox

1 Traveling to the Heart 3

2 "One Thing Good" 25

3 The Rememberers 39

4 The Candidates 55

5 The "Least Resistant Personality" 73

Part 2 The Social Terrain

6 Industry: "The Buckle in America's Energy Belt" 85

7 The State: Governing the Market 4,000 Feet Below 99

8 The Pulpit and the Press: "The Topic Doesn't Come Up" 117

Part 3 The Deep Story And The People In It

9 The Deep Story 135

10 The Team Player: Loyalty Above All 153

11 The Worshipper: Invisible Renunciation 169

12 The Cowboy: Stoicism 181

13 The Rebel: A Team Loyalist with a New Cause 193

Part 4 Going National

14 The Fires of History: The 1860s and the 1960s 207

15 Strangers No Longer: The Power of Promise 221

16 "They Say There Are Beautiful Trees" 231

Afterword 243

Acknowledgments 269

Appendix A The Research 273

Appendix B Politics and Pollution: National Discoveries from ToxMap 277

Appendix C Tact-Checking Common Impressions 281

Endnotes 289

Bibliography 347

Index 371

Reading Group Guide 385

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Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually don't leave reviews, but this book is a must read. The author takes you through the underlying systems and beliefs that have contributed to the current state of our nation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author is a discciplined social scientist who makes a sserious atempt to understand the conservative mind
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now we know where Shirley Jackson found inspiration in American society to write The Lottery. As nice as these people might be, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get past their fact universe to persuade them that there might be a different way. You simply have to outvote them and then through sustained policies that liberals could enact, improve their lives too. I wish their lots in lives could improve soon. But doubling down on the Lottery Society is not going to work. It would be interesting to further develop the contrast made late in the book between Louisiana and Norway, two oil states with similar size landmass and population, but which have completely different societal results. Along with Norway’s wealth and optimism versus Louisiana’s poverty and pessimism, one other obvious contrast is the racial make up: Norway is ~94% white European with probably less than 3% black or brown, while Louisiana is only 65% white and almost 33% black. European societies like Norway are usually disparaged and dismissed by the American right as “Socialism.” In this context, socialism means giving white people’s money to others. If Louisiana was a white as Norway, we might find it looks a lot more like Norway. On the other hand, as we have been seeing from the newly rising European right wing parties, if Norway was as white as Louisiana, we might find that it looks a lot more like Louisiana. Ms. Hochshild makes a lot out of her model of people standing in line while others cut in line, which all of her Lake Charles friends seemed to identify with. It might indeed be a suitable model for those people given their perspective on the world. I think this model translates well beyond Lake Charles, even to here in Upstate, NY. It would have been interesting though if she could have developed it further with them by getting their views on a number of subsequent questions, like: 1. Who set the line arrangements in the first place which had them already in front of some of those they viewed as line cutters? 2. What did you do to deserve your place in the line? 3. Who said that there should only be one line? 4. Who says that you need to stand in the Lake Charles line? You are not going to persuade these people. You could at best billboard the mis-understandings summarized in Appendix C, throughout Red America, so that they could at least see the reality that Fox News keeps hidden from them. Then you need to out vote them.