Thursday, March 16, 2017

Activism Through Reading: Strangers in Their Own Land

I'm back with my next selection for my Advocacy Through Reading project. My 2nd book will be 'Strangers in Their own Land' by Arlie Russell Hochschild which was recommended by the NYT as a book that would help people understand Trump's victory. Hochschild is a renowned sociologist. In this book, she travels to the bayou country of Louisiana, which is a stronghold of the conservative right movement. Here is a synopsis from goodreads:

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?

This is a book I am reading to try to understand the views of a group of people that I have a hard time relating to.  By reading this book I'm hoping to gain more of a personal understanding of the views of groups of people who have been left behind by the economic recovery and how and why they saw Trump as the candidate that would save them.

There is such a divide in our nation right now.  I know I am just one person, but by trying to learn more about a group with views different than mine, I'm hoping it will metaphorically help me step across a divide that feels so insurmountable right now.

I'll be back in late April/early May with my thoughts on the book!

8 comments:

Jeanie said...

This sounds good, Lisa. I hope it delivers. Our book club was doing much the same (but I missed it with travel and I never got the book choices -- Hillbilly Elegy or Hell's Angels read. I might give this one a try.

Carolina John said...

This sounds like it could be written about the people of South Carolina as well. Crazy one-sided red state just like what you encountered in Charlotte. I've been trying to understand those people for years, and I still can't figure it out.

Amber said...

I just put this book on hold at the libary! I think it will make for great discussion and will be a very interesting read!!

Charbelle4 said...

I agree with Carolina John that it could represent many Southern states. In some ways I do know the reasoning behind it. I can understand it. Our nation is so divided right now and honestly I feel that the media is the driving force of that division. I also feel that your project, to learn the different perspectives, is awesome! The more we know, the more we can help others in our circle to understand. Then there is a ripple effect. We are only one person but it's amazing the people we touch that we never realize.

Stephany said...

This will be such a fascinating read and I can't wait to hear your thoughts. It's such a hard thing to do - to try and understand the other side and why they would choose such a person to be president. It still just utterly boggles my mind. You might enjoy the podcast With Friends Like These, the first episode discussed a community that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but then Trump in 2016. It was super eye-opening, even if some of it had me hitting my steering wheel and shouting while I listened to it during my commute. ;)

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Definitely interested to hear your thoughts on this book. The state of the world these days absolutely baffles me ...

missris said...

This book was so interesting to me! I'm curious to hear how you like it.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I can't wait to hear your thoughts!