In Strangers in Their Own Land, a finalist for the National Book Award, 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 — 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 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 the sociology of emotion to help 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?
Arlie Russell Hochschild is a professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley; her work has long focused on the human emotions which underlie moral beliefs, practices, and social life generally. She is the author of nine books including The Managed Heart, The Second Shift, The Time Bind and Global Women. Her honors include the Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin, Ireland; Guggenheim, Fulbright and Mellon fellowships; and three awards granted by the American Sociological Association — the Charles Cooley Award, the Jessie Bernard Award, and the Award for Public Understanding of Sociology (for lifetime achievement).