Arlie Hochschild | WAMC

Arlie Hochschild

Book cover for "Strangers in their Own Land" by Arlie Hochschild
The New Press / The New Press

In the days following the 2016 election, I [Joe Donahue] was drawn to a book published just as the fall campaign was getting underway. It helped me understand the election and the forces roiling in the country. The book was: "Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right" by sociologist Arlie Hochschild.

Almost a decade ago, she ventured into the Republican heartland, the state of Louisiana, and stayed there, on and off, for about five years. During that time, she grappled with what she called the "deep story" of voters who were determined to elect Donald Trump as their next president.

Four years later and a day before election day, I wanted to check in with her again. In what has become the most factious era of U.S. politics, I feel like I need help – help understanding. I called Hochschild and asked if she could join us to dissect what is happening within our nation. More accurately – what has happened, what is happening and what will happen – beginning with tomorrow.

Hochschild is Professor Emerita in the department of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Book cover for "Strangers in their Own Land" by Arlie Hochschild
The New Press / The New Press

  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.