Arlie Russell Hochschild

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Arlie Russell Hochschild
Born (1940-01-15) January 15, 1940 (age 77)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Social Psychology, Sociology of Emotions, Gender and Politics
Institutions University of California-Berkeley
Alma mater Swarthmore College (BA)
University of California-Berkeley (MA, PhD)
Known for The Second Shift, The Managed Heart, The Time Bind
Spouse Adam Hochschild

Arlie Russell Hochschild (/ˈhkʃɪld/; born January 15, 1940) is an American sociologist and academic. She is professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.[1] Hochschild has long focused on the human emotions which underlie moral beliefs, practices, and social life generally. She is the author of nine books including, most recently Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Second Shift, The Managed Heart, and The Time Bind. In the tradition of C. Wright Mills, Hochschild continually tries to draw links between private troubles and social issues.

Early life[edit]

The child of diplomats, Hochschild early became fascinated with the boundaries people draw between inner experience and outer appearance. As she writes in the preface to her book The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling,

"I found myself passing a dish of peanuts among many guests and looking up at their smiles; diplomatic smiles can look different when seen from below than when seen straight on. Afterwards I would listen to my mother and father interpret various gestures. The tight smile of the Bulgarian emissary, the averted glance of the Chinese consul . . . I learned, conveyed messages not simply from person to person but from Sofia to Washington, from Peking to Paris, and from Paris to Washington. Had I passed the peanuts to a person, I wondered, or to an actor? Where did the person end and the act begin? Just how is a person related to an act?"[2]

Education and academic career[edit]

Hochschild graduated from Swarthmore College in 1962 and then earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, whose faculty she soon joined. She wrote her first book, The Unexpected Community, in 1973. As a graduate student, Hochschild was greatly inspired by the writings of Erving Goffman and C. Wright Mills. In White Collar, Mills argued that we "sell our personality." This resonated with Hochschild, but she felt that more needed to be added. As she writes,

"Mills seemed to assume that in order to sell personality, one need only have it. Yet simply having personality does not make one a diplomat, any more than having muscles makes one an athlete. What was missing was a sense of the active emotional labor involved in the selling. This labor, it seemed to me, might be one part of a distinctly patterned yet invisible emotional system– a system composed of individual acts of 'emotion work,' social 'feeling rules,' and a great variety of exchanges between people in private and public life."[3]

Hochschild went on to create concepts which illuminate the power of emotion in social life. With her husband, writer Adam Hochschild, she raised two sons.


Emotion as social[edit]

Hochschild starts with the thesis that human emotions-—joy, sadness, anger, elation, jealousy, envy, despair—-are, in large part, social. Each culture, she argues, provides us with prototypes of feeling which, like the different keys on a piano, attune us to different inner notes. Tahitians, she points out, have one word, "sick," for what in other cultures might correspond to envy, depression, grief or sadness.[4]

Culture guides the act of recognizing a feeling by proposing what's possible for us to feel. In The Managed Heart Hochschild cites the Czech novelist Milan Kundera, who writes that the Czech word "litost" refers to an indefinable longing, mixed with remorse and grief—a constellation of feelings with no equivalent in any other language. It is not that non-Czechs never feel litost, she notes; it is that they are not, in the same way, invited to lift out and affirm the feeling—instead of to disregard or suppress it.[5]

Apart from what we think a feeling is, Hochschild asserts in The Managed Heart, we have ideas about what it should be. We say, "You should be thrilled at winning the prize" or "you must be furious at what he did." We evaluate the fit between feeling and context in light of what she calls "feeling rules," which are themselves deeply rooted in culture.[5] In light of such feeling rules, we try to manage our feelings—i.e., we try to be happy at a party, or grief-stricken at a funeral. In all of these ways—our experience of an interaction, our definition of feeling, our appraisal and management of feeling—feeling is social.

Emotional expression and management are learned in the private sphere, then later through participation in public life.[6]

Emotional labor[edit]

"Emotional labor" refers to the management of one’s feelings and expressions based on the emotional requirements of a job.[5] For example, in The Managed Heart Hochschild writes of how flight attendants are trained to control passengers' feelings during times of turbulence and dangerous situations while suppressing their own fear or anxiety. Bill collectors, too, are often trained to imagine debtors as lazy or dishonest, and so to feel suspicious and be intimidating.[5] As the number of service jobs grows, so too does the amount of emotional labor.

Increasingly, Hochschild argues, emotional labor has gone global. In her essay, "Love and Gold," in Global Woman she describes immigrant care workers who leave their children and elderly back in the Philippines, Mexico or elsewhere in the global South, to take paid jobs caring for the young and elderly in families in the affluent North. Such jobs call on workers to manage grief and anguish vis-a-vis their own long-unseen children, spouses, and elderly parents, even as they try to feel—and genuinely do feel—warm attachment to the children and elders they daily care for in the North.[7]

In an interview with Journal of Consumer Culture, Hochschild explains the effects emotional labor has on female immigrants, "So you have women from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico leaving their children and elderly behind to take jobs caring for American, Canadian, Saudi, and European children and elderly. It was also not uncommon to hear nannies say, ‘I love the kids I take care of now more than my own. I hate to say it, but I do'".[8] The globalization of care work affects not only the worker, but also the care-worker's family.

Emotional debt[edit]

Emotional debt comes from the idea that individuals owe spending time with family, friends, relatives or people in their community. Sometimes guilt is associated with emotional debt. In an interview with Journal of Consumer Culture, Hochschild explains how the work-spend cycle (a system where people work long hours then participate in consumption spending) can add to emotional debt, “Since the 1970s, the advice books have been telling working mothers to stop feeling guilty. Both those who feel guilty and those who tell them not to feel guilty anchor the problem in a context-free individual mother. But given the work-spend cycle, we can see this guilt as a form of emotional debt”.[8]

Work and family[edit]

Other Hochschild books apply her perspective on emotion to the American family. In The Second Shift, she argues that the family has been stuck in a "stalled revolution." Most mothers work for pay outside the home; that is the revolution. But the jobs they go out to and men they come home to haven't changed as rapidly or deeply as has she; that is the stall. So working mothers end up doing the lion's share of the work—both emotional and physical—of tending the home, which leads her to feel resentment. Hochschild traces links between a couple's division of labor and their underlying "economy of gratitude."[9] Who, she asks, is grateful to whom, and for what?[9]

In The Time Bind, Hochschild studied working parents at a Fortune 500 company dealing with an important contradiction. On one hand, nearly everyone she talked to told her that "my family comes first."[10] On the other, working parents felt a magnetic draw to work. For about a fifth of these working parents, she found, home felt like work and work felt like home. Where, she asked informants, do you get help when you need it? Often the answer was work. Where are you most rewarded for what you do, work or home? Often the answer was work. One man told her, "When I'm doing the right thing with my teenage son, chances are he's giving me hell for it. When I'm doing the right thing at work, my boss is clapping me on my back." [10] Parents, she found, handled this strain in several ways. One was to reduce their idea of what they needed. ("Oh, I don't really need time to unwind.") Another was to outsource personal tasks. A third was to develop an imaginary self, the self you would be if only you had time.[10] The "time bind" refers to the lack of time parents had to themselves, the feeling that they were always running late and the thought that they were confined to the limited hours of the day.[11]

In an interview with Journal of Consumer Culture, Hochschild describes how capitalism plays a role in one’s “imaginary self”. She explains, “Many workers put in long hours, and return home exhausted. They turn to television as a form of passive ‘recovery’ from work. In the four hours of television, they’re exposed to thousands of amusing, fun advertisements. Those ads function as a conveyor belt to the mall. At the mall, they spend the money they’ve earned on objects that, I argue in The Time Bind, function as totems to a ‘potential self’ or hypothetical self – a self we would be if only we had time”.[8]

Politics and emotion[edit]

Taken as a whole, Hochschild's work describe various ways in which each individual self becomes a shock absorber of larger forces. Her latest book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, is based on five years of immersion among Louisiana supporters of the Tea Party. It explores the role of emotion in politics by first posing a paradox. Why, she asks, do residents of the nation's poorest state vote for candidates who resist federal help? Why in a highly polluted state, do they vote for candidates who resist regulating polluting industry? Her search for answers leads her to what she calls their "deep story," a metaphorical expression of the emotions they live by. The people she studied may not be voting for their economic self-interest, she found, but they are voting for their emotional self-interest as members of a group which feels marginalized, scorned by coastal liberals, and left behind.

A list of Hochschild's writings can be found on her UC Berkeley website.


Hochschild has been short-listed for the 2016 National Book Award for Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. In 2015, she was awarded the Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin, Ireland. Hochschild has also won Guggenheim, Fulbright and Mellon fellowships, and three awards granted by the American Sociological Association—the Charles Cooley Award (for The Managed Heart) the Jessie Bernard Award (for The Second Shift, The Time Bind and Global Woman), and the Award for Public Understanding of Sociology (for lifetime achievement). In awarding Hochschild the Jessie Bernard Award, the citation observed her "creative genius for framing questions and lines of insight, often condensed into memorable, paradigm-shifting words and phrases."

The Managed Heart, The Second Shift, The Time Bind, and Strangers In Their Own Land have been named "Notable Books of the Year" by the New York Times.

The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times was chosen by Publisher's Weekly as one of the "Best Books of 2012." The last chapter was excerpted in The New York Times (May 5, 2012).

Hochschild has received honorary doctoral degrees from Swarthmore College, Aalborg University Denmark, the University of Oslo, Norway, the University of Lapland, Finland, and Mount St. Vincent University, Canada. Her work appears in 16 languages.


Within sociology she is known as the founder of the sociology of emotion and, outside of it, as a contributor to the New York Times op-ed page and Book Review, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, Harper's Magazine, and The Progressive. Hochschild has become a public sociologist because her work has influenced audiences outside of the academy.

Concepts developed by Hochschild, such as "emotional labor," "feeling rules" and the "economy of gratitude" have been adopted by scholars in a range of disciplines. Capturing some of the recent research and debate, a collection published in 2011, At the Heart of Work and Family: Engaging the Ideas of Arlie Hochschild, critically explores some of her key concepts.[12] Another collection of papers devoted to her work is Pathways to Empathy: New Studies on Commodification, Emotional Labor and Time Binds (2013) edited by Gertraud Koch and Stephanie Everke Buchanan (Campus Verlag-Arbeit und Alltag, University of Chicago Press). The book is based on papers given at an "International Workshop in Honour of Hochschild" at Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany (November 12–13, 2011).

"Hochschildian sociology" reflects a concern with the private life of the individual, which includes the family and children.[6] This sociology focuses on the nature of human relationships and the obligation, emotion, and care that bring people together in all parts of life.[6] Hochschildian sociology works to understand how the personal, private, and familial parts of a person’s life continues to be altered by institutions like the workplace, or by forces of commodification that operate globally.[6]


  • Hochschild, Arlie Russell (1973). The Unexpected Community. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 9780139363856. 
Second edition: Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press. 1979. (ISBN 9780520036246).
Reprinted with new afterword in 2003 (ISBN 9780520239333).
Reissued in 2012 with a new preface (ISBN 9780520272941).
Reissued in 1997 with new afterword. Published in Great Britain by Piatkus Press (ISBN 9780142002926).
Reissued in 2012 with updated data and a new afterword (ISBN 9780143120339).
Reissued in 1997 with new afterword and in 2001 with a new introduction (ISBN 9780805066432).
Recorded as audio book by Scholarly Audio Inc (ISBN 9780966018042).
  • The Commercialization of Intimate Life: Notes from Home and Work. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2003. ISBN 9780520214880. 
Published in Australia by the University of Australia
  • Coleen the Question Girl. London, Great Britain: Invisible Spaces of Parenthood. 2016. ISBN 978-1367458970. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Hochschild, 1983; p. ix.
  3. ^ Hochschild, 1983; p. x.
  4. ^ Hochschild, 2003a.
  5. ^ a b c d Hochschild, 1983.
  6. ^ a b c d Wharton, A. S. (2011). The Sociology of Arlie Hochschild. Work & Occupations, 38(4), 459-464.
  7. ^ Hochschild, 2004.
  8. ^ a b c Wilson, N. H., & Lande, B. J. (n.d). Feeling Capitalism: A Conversation with Arlie Hochschild. Sage Publications, Ltd.
  9. ^ a b Hochschild, 1989.
  10. ^ a b c Hochschild, 2001.
  11. ^ Hochschild, A. R. (2006). Chapter 33: The Time Bind. In , Inequality Reader: Contemporary & Foundational Readings in Race, Class, & Gender (pp. 284-289). Perseus Books, LLC.
  12. ^ Anita Ilta Garey and Karen V. Hansen, ed. (2011). At the Heart of Work and Family: Engaging the Ideas of Arlie Hochschild. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-4956-9. 
  13. ^ "There's No Place Like Work". New York Times Magazine. April 20, 1997. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Adams, Bert N. and R.A. Sydie. 2001. Sociological Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
  • Alis, David. 2009. "Travail Emotionnel, Dissonance Emotionnelle, et Contrefaçon De I’Intimité: Vingt-Cinq Ans Après La Publication de Managed Heart d’Arlie R. Hochschild." in Politiques de L’Intime, edited by I. Berrebi-Hoffmann. Paris, France: Editions La Decouverte.
  • Farganis, James. 2007. Readings in Social Theory: The Classic Tradition to Post-Modernism. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
  • Garey, Anita Ilta and Karen V. Hansen. 2011. "Introduction: An Eye on Emotion in the Study of Families and Work." pp. 1–14 in At the Heart of Work and Family: Engaging the Ideas of Arlie Hochschild, edited by Anita Ilta Garey and Karen V. Hansen. New Brunswick: NJ.
  • Introduction by A. Grandey, in Emotional Labor in the 21st Century: Diverse Perspectives on Emotion Regulation at Work (2013) by Grandey, A., Diefendorff, J.A., & Rupp, D. (Eds.). New York, NY: Psychology Press/Routledge.
  • Greco, Monica, Carmen Leccardi, Roberta Sassatelli and Arlie Hochschild. "Roundtable on and with A. R. Hochschild, Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia," October/December 2014, pp. 819–840.
  • Hanninen, Vilma, Jukka Partanen, and Oili-Helena Ylijoki, eds. 2001. Sosiaalipsykologian Suunnannäyttäjiä. Tampere, Finland: Vastapaino.
  • Kimmel, Sherri. 2013. "A Playful Spirit," Swarthmore College Bulletin, April,
  • Koch, Gertraud, & Stephanie Everke Buchanan (eds). 2013. Pathways to Empathy: New Studies on Commodification, Emotional Labor and Time Binds. Campus Verlag-Arbeit und Alltag, University of Chicago Press. (The book is based on papers given at an "International Workshop in Honour of Arlie Russell Hochschild," Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany (November 12–13, 2011).)
  • Mazzarela, Marete. 2014. "How to Turn Emotions into Capital," Svenska Dagbladet (February 27).
  • Sakiyama, Haruo. 2008. "Theoretical Contribution of Arlie Hochschild" (in Japanese). In Japanese Handbook of Sociology, edited by S. Inoue and K. Ito. Kyoto, Japan: Sekai-Shiso-Sya
  • Skucinska, Anna. 2002. "Nowe Obszary Utowardowienia" (in Czech). ZNAK LVii(6):41–63.
  • Smith, Stephen Lloyd. 1999. "Arlie Hochschild: Soft-spoken Conservationist of Emotions: Review and Assessment of Arlie Hochschild's work," in Soundings, Issue 11 – Emotional Labour, Spring 1999, pp. 120–127.
  • Smith, Stephen. 2014. "Arlie Russell Hochschild: Spacious Sociologies of Emotion," Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents, (edited by Paul Adler, Paul du Gay, Glenn Morgan and Mike Reed).
  • Wharton, Amy S. 2011. "The Sociology of Arlie Hochschild", Work and Occupations, 38(4), pp. 459–464.
  • Williams, Simon J. 1998. Chapter 18. pp. 240–251 in Key Sociological Thinkers, edited by R. Stones. New York: New York University Press.
  • Wilson, N. H., & Lande, B. J. (n.d). Feeling Capitalism: A Conversation with Arlie Hochschild. Sage Publications, Ltd.

External links[edit]