Conversations with History host Harry Kreisler welcomes Professor Arlie Hochschild, 2017 Moses Lecturer at Berkeley for a discussion of her book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right which strives to bridge the gap of understanding between liberals and conservatives.
In 2011, Hochschild noticed a resurgence of the American right and decided to study it further in Louisiana. “I felt I was in a bubble here in Berkeley and wanted to learn more about the equal and opposite bubble.” Her goal was simple: to learn more about the conservative perspective through empathetic listening. “When listening to people who have strong opinions that differ from yours,” she explains, “it’s important to temporarily turn off your alarm system and be honest about it.”
But that’s not always easy. Hochschild advices that “when working with people to try to understand them, as sociologists do, it’s important to first create and feel comfortable within your own support system, to find your cocoon. Then, with that support, it won’t be so frightening to reach out.”
The influences that shaped her journey as a sociologist began as a child traveling extensively with her family. Because of her father’s work in the foreign service, Hochschild lived in foreign countries, not wearing the “right clothes” or speaking the language. In essence, she was the outsider… the “oddball.” Says Hochschild, “I think it’s why I’m a sociologist – I had to figure it out.” At social gatherings, she was “the little kid passing the peanuts, watching how people were interacting, people from different worlds and how they were relating to each other, the different signal systems.”
Learn more about Arlie Hochschild’s pioneering work on the sociology of emotions. Watch Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right.
Income inequality refers to the unequal distribution of income among a population. In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing for the last several decades.
Economist Valerie Ramey of UC San Diego gives an insightful talk charting the rise, fall and rise again of income inequality in America over the last century. She highlights the special circumstances that created a “Golden Age” for the average worker in the 1950s and 1960s and then follows with the economic changes that led to today’s extreme disparity where the top 1 percent of US households earn nearly 20 percent of the nation’s income.
Watch: The Past, Present and Future of US Income Inequality with Valerie Ramey – Osher UC San Diego
This is one of those rare political discussions where two people with different points of view actually listen and learn from each other as each describes their interpretation of why the majority of working-class voters sided with Donald Trump in the last election. Sociologist Arlie Hochschild and political scientist Steven Hayward discuss the causes for the ongoing cultural divide and offer glimmers of hope as they highlight examples of where people of opposite views have found common ground.
Watch: The 2016 Election: What Working Class Voters Are Thinking with Arlie Hochschild and Steven Hayward
The 12th NASA Administrator, Charles F. Bolden Jr., shares how NASA’s programs and missions function as an instrument of international cooperation, demonstrating the steady guidance of the United States as the world’s leader.
Watch NASA International Cooperation – An Instrument of US Soft Power with Charles Bolden – 2017 Nierenberg Prize Lecture
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