Mon September 10, 2012
"Intimate Life in Market Times"
On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak by phone with the widely acclaimed author Arlie Russell Hochschild. Her most recent book is "The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times." It's a readable and engaging --- and sometimes rather unsettling --- exploration of how, in so many different ways, the market enters (and profoundly alters) contemporary American life, particularly in this Internet Age. A retired UC-Berkeley professor of sociology, Hochschild is known for such earlier well-regarded books as "The Managed Heart," "The Second Shift," and "The Time Bind." As David Siegfried has written of Hochschild's newest volume in Booklist: "In her bestselling books 'The Time Bind' (1997) and 'The Second Shift' (1989), Hochschild examined how working mothers and two-income families balanced their home lives with the demands of holding down a career. Here she takes a look at personal life in the Internet age, where the trend is to reach for market services to fulfill needs traditionally met by family, friends, and the community. From online dating services to RentAFriend.com, where members pay $24.95 a month to review prospective 'friends,' our basic capacity to develop personal relationships is being commoditized and outsourced. Hochschild examines the effect of market forces on marriage, child rearing, counseling, caregiving, and even death, where large, national funeral homes are supplanting traditional, local funeral parlors with a more consumer-based approach. This is a thoughtful exercise in taking stock of the aspects of life that get devalued in a culture that promotes the belief that 'the market can do no wrong.'"