Strangers in Their Own Land

Strangers in Their Own Land

by

Arlie Russell Hochschild

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The Great Paradox Term Analysis

Hochschild’s research is centrally motivated by her desire to explain The Great Paradox: people in red states do worse on almost every quality-of-life indicator (and accordingly could benefit most from government assistance), but they consistently vote against that assistance. Red states do receive more federal money on average than blue states, but this is largely because their state tax revenues are lower. Hochschild considers various explanations for the Great Paradox but concludes that understanding why people would vote against what appears to be their political self-interest requires understanding the deep stories through which they define their identities, values, and emotional self-interest.

The Great Paradox Quotes in Strangers in Their Own Land

The Strangers in Their Own Land quotes below are all either spoken by The Great Paradox or refer to The Great Paradox. 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 1 Quotes

How can a system both create pain and deflect blame for that pain?

Related Characters: Arlie Russell Hochschild (speaker)
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

In the life of one man, Lee Sherman, I saw reflected both sides of the paradox—the need for help and a principled refusal of it.

Related Characters: Arlie Russell Hochschild (speaker), Lee Sherman, PPG Management
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Louisianans are sacrificial lambs to the entire American industrial system. Left or right, we all happily use plastic combs, toothbrushes, cell phones, and cars, but we don't all pay for it with high pollution. As research for this book shows, red states pay for it more—partly through their own votes for easier regulation and partly through their exposure to a social terrain of politics, industry, television channels, and a pulpit that invites them to do so. In one way, people in blue states have their cake and cat it too, while many in red states have neither. Paradoxically, politicians on the right appeal to this sense of victimhood, even when policies such as those of former governor Jindal exacerbate the problem.

Related Characters: Arlie Russell Hochschild (speaker), Bobby Jindal
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Great Paradox Term Timeline in Strangers in Their Own Land

The timeline below shows where the term The Great Paradox appears in Strangers in Their Own Land. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 – Traveling to the Heart
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hochschild sees Louisiana as an “extreme example” of the phenomenon she calls the Great Paradox : although conservative “red states” have “more teen mothers, more divorce, worse health, more obesity,... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hochschild considers Alec MacGillis’s popular explanation for the Great Paradox : MacGillis thinks that everyone votes in their political self-interest, but poor conservatives who need... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...than a role model. While Hochschild had found “good people at the center of this Great Paradox ,” she still could not understand how they would vote for a harsher government and... (full context)
Chapter 2 – “One Thing Good”
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
...his past environmentalism and suggests that his story might help “unlock the door to the Great Paradox .” (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
...to reject federal regulation as a solution for pollution. Hochschild sees “both sides of the Great Paradox ” in Sherman: “the need for help and a principled refusal of it.” (full context)
Chapter 4 – The Candidates
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...money, then turn around and “both express and promote a culture that has produced the Great Paradox .” Boustany and Landry are campaigning to represent “one of the most polluted counties in... (full context)
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...“strong feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger about what they already knew.” Returning to the Great Paradox , Hochschild notes that in Louisiana “pollution hit better-off people” as much as the poor,... (full context)
Chapter 8 – The Pulpit and the Press: “The Topic Doesn’t Come Up”
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...that church encourages Louisianans to “turn concern away from social problems,” government help, and the Great Paradox . (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...of victimhood” and believes that she is “working slowly backward toward an answer to the Great Paradox ”: admitting that they have a pollution problem would force Louisianans to address it. Institutions... (full context)
Chapter 15 – Strangers No Longer: The Power of Promise
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...to ignore in favor of economic self-interest. Hochschild sees that her initial questions about the Great Paradox were framed in the language of economic self-interest, which “is never entirely absent,” but is... (full context)