Strangers in Their Own Land Book Summary - Strangers in Their Own Land Book explained in key points
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Strangers in Their Own Land summary

Arlie Russell Hochschild

Anger and Mourning on the American Right

3.8 (30 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild is an exploration of the conservative mindset in America's Deep South. With empathy and clear analysis, Hochschild examines the feelings and beliefs of those who feel left behind by society and are deeply distrustful of the government and liberal elites.

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    Strangers in Their Own Land
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    The supporters of the Tea Party in Louisiana seem to be behaving paradoxically.

    You’d think that the poorer American states would advocate for government aid. After all, if you need help, and help is available, why wouldn’t you try to get it? But, paradoxically enough, Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the nation, seems to be against such aid.

    This may well be because a large number of Louisiana’s citizens support the Tea Party, a politically conservative movement within the Republican Party that favors the free market, supports big businesses and desires a small government which exercises little regulation.

    A majority of the citizens of Louisiana evidently support these ideologies. They elected Bobby Jindal to the position of state governor in both 2007 and 2011, and Jindal reduced the number of regulations in place for the large chemical and oil companies operating within the state. He purposely lowered the region’s pollution standards so that the companies would meet the requirements, even though these lowered standards were far below the national average. In addition, he offered cash incentives worth billions of dollars to oil companies, encouraging them to relocate to Louisiana.

    As for Louisianans’ desire for a smaller government, they believe that the state already has too much power. They believe that the state “steals” their tax dollars, passing the money on to people who, rather than struggling with unemployment, choose to be lazy and accept government handouts. A majority of Louisianans think that if the government were reduced in size and influence this wouldn’t be the case.

    Ironically, this overt lack of regulatory policies and reduced governmental involvement has led to Louisiana being one of the worst-off states in America. A year after Jindal was first elected, Louisiana was ranked number 49 out of 50 in The Measure of America. The ranking assessed life expectancy, the number of people with educational degrees, median personal income and school-enrollment levels.

    The people of Louisiana believe that the few regulations still in place are the root of their ills. So why do they think this and continue to vote along conservative lines? In the following blinks, you’ll find out.

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    What is Strangers in Their Own Land about?

    Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) discusses the issues that divide American politics, with specific focus on the Tea Party of Louisiana. In the course of explaining how Louisiana ended up where it is today, the author encourages readers to empathize with disparate political stances.

    Strangers in Their Own Land Review

    Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) is a thought-provoking exploration of the political divide in America, providing valuable insights on the emotions and beliefs of the conservative working class. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers a deep empathy for the people of Louisiana, providing a unique perspective on their concerns, frustrations, and aspirations.
    • Presents a compelling analysis of the rise of the Tea Party and the environmental consequences of industrial pollution, shedding light on crucial issues in contemporary society.
    • By combining rigorous research, personal stories, and unforgettable characters, it creates a narrative that holds the reader's attention, unraveling the complexity of contemporary American politics.

    Best quote from Strangers in Their Own Land

    To some, Fox is family.

    —Arlie Russell Hochschild
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    Who should read Strangers in Their Own Land?

    • People interested in American society
    • Students of politics and sociology
    • Anyone interested in today’s political climate

    About the Author

    Arlie Russell Hochschild is professor emerita in Sociology at the University of Berkeley, California. In 2015, she won the American Sociological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is also the author of The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times.

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    Strangers in Their Own Land FAQs 

    What is the main message of Strangers in Their Own Land?

    The main message of Strangers in Their Own Land is understanding the emotions and perspectives of conservative Americans in the heartland.

    How long does it take to read Strangers in Their Own Land?

    Reading Strangers in Their Own Land takes several hours, while the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Strangers in Their Own Land a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Strangers in Their Own Land is worth reading as it sheds light on the political divide and offers an empathetic exploration of conservative voters' perspectives.

    Who is the author of Strangers in Their Own Land?

    The author of Strangers in Their Own Land is Arlie Russell Hochschild.