Lecture to explore American anger at government

Why do many Americans, especially white rural Americans, distrust the federal government?  Can liberal and conservative Americans find common ground despite such divides? In the final lecture in the “Difficulty of Democracy” series of the Program on Ethics and Public Life (EPL), sociologist Arlie Hochschild will discuss her New York Times bestseller, “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right.” Her lecture, “Anger at Government vs. Liberal Hopes, Can We Come Together without Losing Ground?” will take place Monday, April 30, 4:30-6 p.m. in Hollis Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall.  The talk is free and open to the public. 

“This lecture will be a powerful conclusion to our series on ‘The Difficulty of Democracy,’” said Richard Miller, EPL director and the Wyn and William Y. Hutchinson Professor in Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. “The question of why so many Americans, especially white Americans in rural areas, are alienated from government is fundamental to understanding American politics. Arlie Hochschild’s groundbreaking investigations have played a fundamental role in illuminating this question, and in this lecture she will point to important and hopeful prospects for advancing American democracy.”

Hochschild’s book, a finalist for the National Book Award, relates her journey from the “blue bubble” of Berkeley, California to the “red bubble” of Lake Charles, Louisiana and explores the implications of her findings for America’s political future.  One question she explores is why citizens of Louisiana, the second poorest state in the U.S. with 44 percent of its budget derived from federal funds, generally distrust the federal government. She will discuss the three trips she has taken to the areas of her research since “Strangers” was published, and propose approaches for future activism. 

In addition to "Strangers," Hochschild’s work includes “The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times,” “The Commercialization of Intimate Life: Notes From Home and Work,” and “The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home.

Hochschild's talk is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Inequality.

This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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