#105: Despair And Indignation Among The American White Working Class — Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild is one of the most influential sociologists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Show notes

Selected links

Topics discussed

  • Arlie’s childhood spread across the world. 5:08
  • How did C. Wright Mills influence Arlie? 8:34
  • Was sociology an easy career decision for Arlie? 11:20
  • When did Arlie decide she needed to write Strangers In Their Own Land? 12:54
  • Why is the Tea Party strongest in the southern states? 16:47
  • Why does the Tea Party love the atheist Ayn Rand? 25:14
  • What are ‘deep stories’? 34:55
  • Taking the right’s needs seriously. 42:07
  • Trump’s power as an orator. 55:04
  • If the liberal elite failed to understand the white working class, how did a real estate magnate from Manhattan grock them so quickly? 1:03:10
  • Trump won 10.1 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016. What does that say about America today? 1:04:57
  • How can we learn to be more empathetic? 1:06:45


November 24, 2020 4:02 am

Joe – like you I struggled to understand why Trump was so “popular” in the US – 70M people can’t all be stupid…
Arlie’s story of line jumping makes sense to me and explains at least some of it. Just how Joe Biden explains why they can’t go back to the 1960’s but how a bridge to 2030 can be built will be a task for the very best…

Garry Mackrell
November 24, 2020 7:20 am

It is very refreshing to be a participant in conversations which endeavour to get to the essence of issues and to explore in a non-partisan way,the reasons why such situations have arisen.So much stuff these days is uttered through megaphones in tone deaf ways to their pre-selected adoring audiences ,so that in reality nothing new is learnt and we regress rather than progress.
A lot has to do with the quality and depth of experience of the speakers- keep up the great identification process.

Deb Campbell
November 30, 2020 2:20 am

This is a great conversation which does help explain what is happening, or rather has already happened, in the US. I its especially valuable in allowing us to understand those 70 million plus Trump voters most of whom, it seems to me, are actively voting directly against their own interests. [Which BTW many Australian voters are too in voting for #scottyfrommarketing.] It is great to have the relevant references too thanks.
Trump is a cheat and himself a line cutter – inheriting his [former] wealth, cheating his workers, pretending billions which are not his at all. While I find much of what she says compelling, I just don’t buy Arlie’s argument that Trump is seen by his voters as somehow ‘suffering’. I disagree that he knows about struggle – he is simply not that intelligent or self-aware. I think people like him BECAUSE he is seen as cheating and then winning – the quick way to that fatal ‘American dream’ …the ceaseless ‘pursuit of happiness’ as some sort of permanent state of being. Trump personifies this fruitless quest. We do need to de-trump the world.

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