Book notes | Strangers in Their Own Land

At the end of a week like no other (the House Jan. 6 committee hearings and Supreme Court decisions on gun control in New York and overturning Roe v. Wade), UMRA’s Fourth Friday Book Club met on June 24 and had a deep and passionate discussion on Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild.  

Although the book had been selected months earlier, it seemed to be a most relevant choice for this particular day. Members of our group all agreed that this well-written and well-researched book helped us to understand how our country has become more divisive and segmented.   

Strangers in Their Own Land was published in 2016. At the core of the book is the nagging question of contemporary American politics: Why do people who would seem to benefit most from “liberal” government intervention abhor the very idea?

To explore what she calls “the great paradox,” Hochschild traveled to the deeply conservative Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right and an “extreme example” of a population that strongly opposes many of the ideas she famously champions.

Hochschild, a professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, in fact recognizes many core areas of common concern: the desire for community, the embrace of family and hopes for their children. She also creates a space for normative discussion of widely held issues. 

It was a welcome read. And perhaps out there is the conservative counterpart to Hochschild to make a similar journey to a bastion of liberal advocacy. 

—Laura Coffin Koch, UMRA Fourth Friday Book Club member


Publication date: 
June 27, 2022
At A Glance
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

2022 Annual Meeting and Forum

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Campus Club, Fourth Floor
West Wing Dining Room
Coffman Memorial Union


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11:15 a.m.

Buffet lunch


Annual Meeting and Forum

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John Coleman, dean
College of Liberal Arts

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