From the bestselling author of The Second Shift and The Outsourced Self, a brilliant new book that plumbs our deep political divide and asks the question: how does the world look from the heart of the right?
“They stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, ‘Just chill, O.K., just relax.’ Well, look, we are mad, and we’ve been had.” —Sarah Palin, endorsing Donald Trump for president, January 19, 2016
Finalist, National Book Award 2016 One of “6 Books to Understand Trump’s Win” according to the New York Times the day after the election
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 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—which 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?