Essay by ilkaytonyUniversity, Bachelor's April 2004

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Hochschild's 'reversed world' thesis is based on a case study. What is Hochschild's case and how does she use evidence to make it?

The traditional perception of home and work is portrayed in early Marxist writings where capitalist workplaces were a place of alienation and a return to home was a relief from this(1) and in Christopher Lasch's 'Haven in a Heartless World' home was depicted as a haven away form work(2). Yet is this belief still relevant? More people are spending increasing amounts of time at work, discovering themselves less able to find time for their home life. This could be due to fear of lay-offs and inflexible hours, but Hochschild asserts that many are voluntarily taking on longer work days and passing up the chance for the more flexible hours given by companies with 'family-friendly policies' such as 'Amerco'. In this essay I will be presenting Hochschild's case and showing how she used evidence in her narrative based thesis to make this case.

In the 'reversed worlds' thesis, Hochschild presents a case about the inverted attitudes towards work and home. She uses a case study of a company she renamed 'Amerco', whereby she makes the argument that working parents rather than conform to Lasch's traditional image of the home, seemed to find that going out to work is more appealing than staying at home with the children, increasingly 'managing' their home life and becoming more emotionally involved with work(3). She makes the case that working mothers like Linda Avery put in for over-time to get away from the stresses of home to the workplace where they have fulfilling social ties and recognition for what they do. Hochshild makes the case that increasingly time at home is more 'Taylorised' than before, and that many workers are attempting to intensify...