Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild
Anger and Mourning on the American Right

72%

6 Critic Reviews

Hochschild is a brilliant sociologist and a great teacher, able to explain complex ideas in lucid, logical prose. But to get alienated parties over this very high empathy wall, she has to be a great human being, too.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

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?
 

About Arlie Russell Hochschild

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Arlie Russell Hochschild is the author of The Time Bind, The Second Shift, and The Managed Heart. She is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, Her articles have appeared in Harper's, Mother Jones, and Psychology Today, among others. She lives in San Francisco.
 
Published September 6, 2016 by New Press, The. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 04 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Strangers in Their Own Land
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Jun 01 2016

At times, Hochschild flirts with overgeneralizing and stereotyping, but for the most part, she conducts herself as a personable, nonjudgmental researcher. A well-told chronicle of an ambitious sociological project of significant current importance.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Apr 14 2017

Hochschild discovers attitudes and behaviors around key concepts such as work, honor, religion, welfare, and the environment that may surprise those with left-leaning politics.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jason deparle on Sep 19 2016

While her hopes of finding common political ground seem overly optimistic, this is a smart, respectful and compelling book.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Marion Winik on Sep 02 2016

Hochschild is a brilliant sociologist and a great teacher, able to explain complex ideas in lucid, logical prose. But to get alienated parties over this very high empathy wall, she has to be a great human being, too.

Read Full Review of Strangers in Their Own Land: ... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

The Sydney Morning Herald

Good
Reviewed by Jo Case on Jan 14 2017

Several post-election commentators have criticised empathy for Trump voters as endorsement of his campaign rhetoric. Strangers in Their Own Land argues that we cannot effectively challenge ideas without first understanding them – and that denigrating "stupid" Trump voters only heightens their defences.

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Newsday

Above average
Reviewed by Gabriel Thompson on Sep 16 2016

Why do these smart and compassionate people — and many of the people Hochschild interviews are clearly both — support Trump? If that’s a question you’ve asked, Hochschild’s book is the perfect place to start.

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Reader Rating for Strangers in Their Own Land
37%

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