Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Just Reviewed “The Outsourced Self” at SBR

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Folks, you owe it to yourself to read THE OUTSOURCED SELF  by Arlie Russell Hochschild.  Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has an interesting and often trenchant take on the current trend of personal outsourcing — where we pay someone else to do something we used to do ourselves, like organizing a child’s birthday party, or finding a name for an infant, or finding someone to meet and marry (as in the case of e-Harmony.com).  This is an interesting book with many laugh out loud moments, but it’s the power of its argument that eventually won me over.

Know, though, that this isn’t a perfect book; Hochschild mostly deals with the American upper middle class, and in these tough economic times, that really seems nonsensical.  (When we do see low-income people, they are almost always foreigners, which seems really strange.)  We have plenty of poor people in the United States; why didn’t Hochschild interview a few?  Didn’t she think they would advance her argument, considering that this whole idea of “outsourcing yourself” seems prevalent now among all classes and cultures in the United States, for one reason and one reason alone — that is, “if you pay for it” (whatever it is), “it must have more value.”

While I disagree, and disagree strongly, with that idea, I’ve certainly seen other people who espouse it.  That’s why Hochschild’s book is both topical and relevant — and it’s why I believe every writer should read this book.

Here’s the link to tonight’s review:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/sociologist-hochschild-asks-how-much-should-you-outsource-yourself/

Enjoy!

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

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