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Famed sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild to visit West campus


Arlie Russell Hochschild
April 03, 2013

The public is invited to an April 23 presentation by Arlie Russell Hochschild, a renowned sociologist from the University of California. Hochschild will discuss the ideas in her latest book, “The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times.”

The book explores how we increasingly “outsource” intimate tasks such as finding romantic partners, caring for our elders, and sharing our emotions with friends. Hochschild explores how market-driven services and new technologies now perform roles previously played by ourselves and those we love. While acknowledging the cultural and economic forces that make these changes seem necessary, she also calls attention to the emotional and relational costs.

Hochschild will speak at 7 p.m., April 23 in the La Sala Ballroom at ASU’s West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road. The event is free; visitor parking on campus costs $2 per hour.

In “The Outsourced Self,” Hochschild examines the societal trend toward various aspects of private life such as love, friendship and child rearing transforming into packaged expertise to be sold back to confused, harried Americans. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and original research, Hochschild follows the incursions of the market into every stage of intimate life. From dating services that train you to be the CEO of your love life to wedding planners who create a couple’s “personal narrative,” and from nameologists (who help you name your child) to wantologists (who help you name your goals), Hochschild reveals a world in which the most intuitive and emotional of human acts have become work for hire.

“The Outsourced Self” was selected by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best books of 2012. In awarding Hochschild the Jesse Bernard Award, the American Sociological Association recognized her “creative genius for framing questions and lines of insight, often condensed into memorable, paradigm-shifting words and phrases.”

According to the New York Times review of “The Outsourced Self,” “Hochschild elicits thoughtful reflections from ordinary people. Then she uses those reflections to chart the confusing intersections between commerce and private life that we all have to navigate now that the purveyors of personal assistance have built strip malls on nearly every acre of our inner selves.”

“Dr. Hochschild’s work provides meaningful food for thought for busy people who wrestle with the demands of today’s hectic society, and we are pleased to bring her to the Valley to share her perspectives,” said Vincent Waldron, professor of communication in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus. Waldron’s own research focuses on topics including the communication of forgiveness in family and romantic relationships and employee communication during emotional, stressful or “risky” work situations.

Hochschild’s other books include “The Managed Heart,” “The Second Shift,” “The Time Bind,” “The Commercialization of Intimate Life,” “The Unexpected Community” and the co-edited “Global Woman: Nannies, maids and sex workers in the new economy.” A retired U.C. Berkeley professor of sociology, she lives with her husband, the writer Adam Hochschild in Berkeley, Calif.

For more information about Hochschild’s visit to ASU’s West campus, contact Heidi Maxwell at heidi.maxwell@asu.edu or (602) 543-4521.