Social Science Matrix and the Education Psychology Library are pleased to welcome Arlie Russell Hochschild, UC Berkeley Professor Emerita of Sociology, for a discussion about her new book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (The New Press, September 2016), a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award.
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. She was the winner of the Ulysses Medal as well as Guggenheim and Mellon grants.
In Strangers in Their Own Land, Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, 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 champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground with 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 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 many on the political right have been duped into voting against their interests. In the right-wing world she explores, Hochschild discovers powerful forces—fear of cultural eclipse, economic decline, perceived government betrayal—that override self-interest, as progressives see it, and help explain the emotional appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump. 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?
“Conducted over the last five years and focusing on emotions, I try to scale an ‘empathy wall’ to learn how to see, think, and feel as they do,” Hochschild explains on her website. “What, I ask, do members of the Tea Party–or anyone else–want to feel about the nation and its leaders? I trace this desire to what I call their “deep story”–a feels-as-if story of their difficult struggle for the American Dream. Hidden beneath the right-wing hostility to almost all government intervention, I argue, lies an anguishing loss of honor, alienation, and engagement in a hidden social class war.”
Please join us on November 30 for a conversation with Professor Hochschild, moderated by Lynsay Skiba, Associate Director for Programs at Social Science Matrix. A reception will follow the discussion. Copies of the book will be available for sale, courtesy of Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore.
This event is co-sponsored by Social Science Matrix and the UC Berkeley Education Psychology Library.
Wednesday, November 30
Social Science Matrix
820 Barrows Hall
Matrix is located on the 8th floor of Barrows Hall. There are entrances at both ends of the building, but only one of the elevators on the eastern side goes directly to the 8th floor. You can alternatively take the stairs to the 7th floor and walk up the stairs.