Strangers in Their Own Land

Strangers in Their Own Land

by

Arlie Russell Hochschild

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Structural Amnesia Term Analysis

This is early twentieth-century anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard’s term for a situation in which a social group selectively forgets certain aspects of their history—usually aspects that threaten group consensus or the interests of the powerful. This convenient forgetting serves as “an indirect expression of power,” and it’s something that the oil companies and state government encourage.

Structural Amnesia Quotes in Strangers in Their Own Land

The Strangers in Their Own Land quotes below are all either spoken by Structural Amnesia or refer to Structural Amnesia. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the The New Press edition of Strangers in Their Own Land published in 2016.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The Arenos didn't simply remember the good old days of a clean Bayou d'Inde. They remembered against the great forgetting of industry and state government. This institutional forgetting altered the private act of mourning. And not just that. It altered the Arenos’ very identity. They had not left Bayou d'Inde. They were stayers. They didn't want to leave, and even if they had wanted to, they couldn't afford to. The polluting companies had given them no money to enable them to move. And the value of their house had now fallen, for who would want to live on Bayou d'Inde Pass Road, even in a home as beautifully kept up as theirs? The Arenos had become stay-at-home migrants. They had stayed. The environment had left.

Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Afterword Quotes

The history of the United States has been the history of whites cutting ahead of blacks, first of all through slavery, and later through Jim Crow laws and then through New Deal legislation and the post-World War II GI Bill, which offered help to millions of Americans with the exception of those in farm and domestic work, occupations in which blacks were overrepresented. And racial discrimination continues today.

Related Characters: Arlie Russell Hochschild (speaker)
Page Number: 260-1
Explanation and Analysis:
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Structural Amnesia Term Timeline in Strangers in Their Own Land

The timeline below shows where the term Structural Amnesia appears in Strangers in Their Own Land. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3 – The Rememberers
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...that nostalgia is a barrier to economic progress. Hochschild sees this as a kind of structural amnesia , a term coined by anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard when he noted that the Sudanese Nuer... (full context)
Chapter 8 – The Pulpit and the Press: “The Topic Doesn’t Come Up”
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hochschild returns to the idea of structural amnesia , suggesting that Louisianans focus on problems like people who “cheat the government” in order... (full context)