The Time Bind When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work

Arlie Russell Hochschild

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344 Pages



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For three years, Hochschild interviewed every employee at a Fortune 500 company, from top executives to factory hands. The result, this landmark case study, put "the work/family balance" in the national headlines—and on the White House agenda. Hailed as "a groundbreaking analysis" by Newsweek when it first appeared in 1997, The Time Bind now features a new introduction by the author.

In a series of vivid sketches and detailed studies, Hochschild paints a surprising group portait of couples as time thieves, children as emotional bill-collectors, spouses as efficiency experts, parents who feel like helpful mothers and fathers mainly to their workmates, and women who—like generations of men before them—flee the pressures of home for the relief of work. Hochschild's important book fully exposes our crunch-time world by revealing how, after the first shift at work and the second at home, comes the third, and hardest, shift: repairing the damage created by the first two.

Shedding much new light on the state of the American family at the outset of the twenty-first century, The Time Bind is crucial reading for all students of labor, economics, sociology, psychology, women's studies, and contemporary culture.


Praise for The Time Bind

"Arlie Hochschild is a national treasure. The Time Bind is certain to become the reference point for future discussions of the work-family squeeze. Hochschild combines the astute and subtle insights of a great social scientist with the narrative gift of a poet and the kindness of a profound humanist."—Robert Kuttner, author of Everything for Sale

"Riveting and intensely readable . . . An important illumination of a problem that many people have been looking at sideways for too long.—Cynthia Leive, Newsday

"The Time Bind is a totally absorbing study of how the way we live and work just isn't working for us. Pushing aside the shibboleths that muffle most discussions of the American family, Hochschild brilliantly pinpoints the vicious cycle that's eating away at our homes: the longer hours we work, the more stressful our home lives become; and the greater the tensions at home, the more we try to escape into work. So now we've been warned: in the world we're fast approaching, there'll be no rest for the grown-ups—and no place at all for the kids."—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed and Blood Rites

"Truly subversive . . . Ms. Hochschild has exposed something that feels like an unacknowledged home truth. America's clean little secret: work, not even the substance of it but the buzzy surface feeling of office life, is for many a source of pleasure."—Nicholas Lehmann, The New York Times Book Review

"A penetrating look at the dilemmas of work and family in corporate America. Taking us deep into the culture of one enterprise, Hochschild shows how families, and especially children, are losing out to the demands of workaholic companies and lays bare the impossible choices people are forced to make. The subject is engrossing, the writing graceful, and the conclusions compelling. The best book on this subject yet written, The Time Bind will take its place with classics such as The Organization Man and Men and Women of the Corporation. If you work for a living, read this book."—
bJuliet Schor, author of The Overworked American

"Important, provocative, and a little scary . . . A ground-breaking analysis."—Laura Shapiro, Newsweek

"The work-family debate has long been too biased toward enabling people with families to get to work and stay there. It's time for the pendulum to swing the other way, and Dr. Hochschild has given a thoughtful and needed push."—Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal

"Beautifully written and poignant."—Paul Harrington, The Boston Globe

"In The Second Shift, Arlie Hochschild warned that our 'job culture' had expanded at the expense of our 'family culture'; in The Time Bind she shows us just how devastating that process has become. Her new book reveals the profound consequences of the increase in work time over the last several decades—consequences not just for the family, which are serious enough, but for democracy itself. When people don't have enough time to give to their children, how will they have enough to be citizens? Beautifully written and compellingly argued, The Time Bind is essential reading for anyone who cares about our country's future."—Robert Bellah, author of Habits of the Heart

"Important . . . Hochschild's work has the air of being effortlessly well timed. Here, as she did in The Second Shift, she's grabbed a social problem out of the air that ordinary people groan about a great deal and scholars and cultural critics generalize about equally ineffectually."—Ann Hulbert, Slate

"Hochschild has written one of the best critiques of work in America."—Joanne Ciulla, Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads



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The Time Bind

About Time
The Waving Window
It is 6:45 A.M. on a fine June day in the midwestern town of Spotted Deer. At a childcare center in the basement of the...

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  • Arlie Russell Hochschild

  • Arlie Russell Hochschild, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-director of The Center for Working Families, is the author of The Second Shift and The Managed Heart. Her articles have appeared in Harper's, Mother Jones, and Psychology Today, among other periodicals.

  • Arlie Russell Hochschild © Paige K. Parsons Photography