The Second Shift By Arlie Hochschild Free Essays

Parallel to this migration of workers to richer locations is the trend in the opposite direction of medical and care “tourism” to countries offering cheaper private services (in India, this is second only to internet services as a source of national revenue). And, doubtless because of its sensitive personal and emotional complexity, the type of service to which Hochschild devotes most space in this collection is that of commercial surrogacy and other assisted reproductive techniques. These are not the baby-making “handmaids” of a top-down totalitarian regime, but individuals freely offering their services in a market in which babies have become desired objects, commodified and given a price in a virtual mall where we are all free to shop around for the cheapest goods. Everyone profits in this exchange – or so we think. The emotional cost is not shared equally by all, and as Hochschild concludes in her summary of recent cross-national evidence, such inequalities in themselves carry a cost to nations in search of both growth and social harmony, whether they are overall classified as rich or poor.

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In this landmark study, sociologist Arlie Hochschild takes us into the homes of two-career parents to observe what really goes on at the end of the .The Second Shift is where companies who embrace the evolving nature of work find talent to support their staff and strategy needs.

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Where emotion work is commoditized, that is, offered for sale or as part ofa service, Hochschild refers to this as "emotion labour" (Adams andSydie, p. 520). That is, note that certain emotions can be expressed to thepublic and in the service sector workers are required to provide some expressionsas part of the sale (Wallace and Wolf, p. 242). An example is the smile andfriendly chat from the Safeway checkout clerk – this could be either surface ordeep acting. Or it may be the emotion itself that is delivered as part of theservice – making people feel good in the case of real estate or appliancesalespeople, or making people feel guilty for not saving sufficiently in thecase of some financial services.

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Ms. Hochschild's first, and perhaps richest, case study is of a family she calls the Holts - Nancy, a social worker, her husband Evan, a furniture salesman, and their son, Joey. Nancy describes herself as an egalitarian, and Evan professes support for sharing the responsibilities of parenting and housework. But in practice, Evan doggedly resists. When he is on duty, domestic chores somehow don't get done. ''Despite all the high-flown talk,'' equality in the second shift is for Evan frankly ''a loss in his standard of living.'' Eventually, after several failed attempts to schedule equal sharing of domestic life, the couple agree to a bargain in which Nancy is responsible for ''upstairs'' and Evan for ''downstairs.'' This turns out to mean that Nancy shops, cooks, cleans, pays the bills, does the laundry and most of the work of raising the child, while Evan deals with the car, the garage, his hobby workshop and the family dog. Most poignantly to the observer, the two have convinced themselves that this arrangement is fair.

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''Evan won on the reality of the situation,'' Ms. Hochschild concludes, ''Nancy won on the cover story.'' For Evan, caring for the dog became ''a fetish'' that ''converted a single act into a substitute for a multitude of chores in the second shift.'' Despite her professed feminism, Nancy began to conceive of the household as her dominion, and became more proprietary about the child - at Evan's expense. She conspired with Evan in the myth that since he was working harder outside the home, his leisure time was more valuable than hers. Such marriages, says Ms. Hochschild, reflect ''intricate webs of tension, and the huge, hidden emotional cost to women, men, and children.''

The Second Shift Reading Response 1

This question, in turn, led to the supposition that perhaps ''one reason that half the lawyers, doctors, business people are not women is because men do not share the raising of their children and the caring of their homes.'' It also led to the urge to write a book. ''The Second Shift'' is based on a series of interviews with 50 working families in the San Francisco Bay area, extending over several years. Ms. Hochschild and her research assistant and collaborator, Anne Machung, aimed not only at determining who cares for children, does housework and sacrifices career, but also at investigating how values have changed as work outside the home has become normal for women of all social classes. It is the best discussion I have read on what must be the quintessential domestic bind of our time.