The Second Shift

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The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home
Author Arlie Russell Hochschild with Anne Machung
Country United States
Language English
Genre Nonfiction social science
Publisher Viking Penguin
Publication date
1989, with reissues in 1997 and 2012
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN 9780143120339 (2012 release)

The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home is a book by Arlie Russell Hochschild with Anne Machung, first published in 1989, and reissued with a new afterword in 1997. It was again reissued in 2012 with updated data and a new afterword. It has been translated into German (Zolnay Press), Japanese (Asahi Press), Dutch (Unibock Press), Arabic (International Publishers, Cairo, Egypt), Korean (Aha-chim-e-seul), and was published in Great Britain by Piatkus Press. In the text, Hochschild investigates and portrays the double burden experienced by late-20th-century employed mothers. This book expands on the concept of the double burden, and talks about the importance of the double burden for mothers.


Coined after Arlie Hochschild's 1989 book, the term "second shift" is another way of describing the labor performed at home in addition to the paid work performed in the formal sector. In The Second Shift, Hochschild and her research associates "interviewed fifty couples very intensively" and observed in a dozen homes throughout the 1970s and 80s in an effort to explore the "leisure gap" between men and women.[1] Through the depictions of the couples' daily lives, Hochschild applied three different attitudes about marital roles that she discovered in her research: traditional, transitional, and egalitarian. While the traditional woman "wants to identify with her activities at home (as a wife, a mother, a neighborhood mom)", the egalitarian woman "wants to identify with the same spheres her husband does, and to have an equal amount of power in the marriage". The transitional woman is in between, blending the two other ideologies. Most of the chapters are dedicated to the routines of a different couple, delving into the apparent and unnoticed motivations behind their behaviors. Similar to earlier research that is cited in the book, The Second Shift found that women still take care of most of the household and childcare responsibilities despite their entrance into the labor market. The "second shift" affected the couples, as they reported feelings of guilt and inadequacy, marital tension, and a lack of sexual interest and sleep. On the other hand, Hochschild shared the stories of a few men who equally shared the burden of domestic work and childcare with their wives, showing that while this scenario is uncommon, it is a reality for some couples. Hochschild's research also presented a clear division between the ideology preferences of the genders and social classes: the working class and men preferred the traditional idea; the middle class and women preferred the egalitarian one.[1]


  1. ^ a b Hochschild, Arlie and Anne Machung. 1990. The Second Shift. Avon Books: New York.