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The Second Shift

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  1,162 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
Fifteen years after its first publication, The Second Shift remains just as important and relevant today as it did then. As the majority of women entered the workforce, sociologist and Berkeley professor Arlie Hochschild was one of the first to talk about what really happens in dual-career households. Many people were amazed to find that women still did the majority of chi ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1989)
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Sep 21, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it
I truly think every married man, newlywed or otherwise should read this book. This book is a sociological study about how men and women share the 'second shift', the time and the work put in at home in terms of both house work and child rearing. While there are various issues with the sampling (all one company, all one geographical area, etc, which she does disclose at the end of the book) I think she arrives at very correct conclusions.

I cannot stress enough, my wife DID NOT urge me to read th
Nov 01, 2012 Penney rated it really liked it
Because running a household is work, and like any good business, the load must be negotiated and shared.

The first class I stepped into for my undergraduate education was “Sociology of the Family,” and this book served as required reading. It changed my world. Have you ever wondered why women send all the family Christmas cards and buy the birthday presents? Why Pinterest is angled at weddings and hairstyle and entertaining children? Why dads “mean fun, but moms mean business?” (Yes, that’s a quo
Apr 30, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
There is good news and bad news:

The bad news is that women get the shaft, big time. The good news is that most of us are in the same boat.

I think this is a MUST READ for any single (as in, not yet married) female. AHEM Lauren!

I can't speak for everyone, but I know many women in my generation are told they can be anything they want, they can have kids and a career and do it all, right? It is a tragedy that women are not told the other half of the story - that they are capable of doing anything
Jul 06, 2007 Carli rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, feminist
This book is the landmark study from the 1970s and 80s that explored the realities of two-income families and how they navigate domestic roles in the household, namely housework and child rearing. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in gender in the United States, the current brouhaha called "the mommy wars", or who has been shocked by the stats that show women still do 70% or more of the housework, even when they work full time.

Arlie Hochschild writes from a feminist point of view b
Jun 23, 2016 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, totally worth reading. As a friend of mine mentioned, it was interesting to see how little the fundamental narratives and patterns have changed, even if things are moving in the right direction.

The book didn't particularly lend itself to excerpts, since the analyses and case studies tended to be extended, not quick and anecdotal. In fact, the excerpts below aren't particularly representative of the book overall. But anyway, here they are:

When couples struggle, it is seldom simply over who
May 31, 2014 kylajaclyn rated it liked it
Read this for the case studies inside. Conducted from 1980 to 1988, these case studies showcase the life of working women in heterosexual relationships, and their journey to balance family, work, and housework. Notably, Hochschild acknowledges that men only juggle two things (work and family) as opposed to three. Housework factors largely into what has become known as the Second Shift. Behind every family and marriage showcased in this book is the heartbeat of the Second Shift and what it means ...more
Matthew Squire
Jul 26, 2012 Matthew Squire rated it did not like it
Second shift looks at women as an entire class using loosely tied together statistics. While at the same time discusses men in stereotypical tropes. You won't find many bad reviews of this book because very few people other than hardcore feminists and sociologists bother to read it. The book was written in the 1970's and the ideas are just as outdated second waver bullshit.
Bonnie G.
Just re-read this book and man is it still way too relevant...
Guys, wash the dishes. Fucking srsly.
Jul 17, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
A recent article referencing this classic sociological case study lead me to read this book. I found it enlightening, familiar, and more than a little depressing.

Originally written in the 1980's, Arlie Hochschild observes numerous couples struggling with the difficulty of creating a home and a family life together. To her credit, and to the detriment of the state of society today, it doesn't feel dated. She focuses most on the disconnect between gender ideologies held by each partner, the expec
Vincent Li
Aug 08, 2016 Vincent Li rated it it was amazing
An excellent read. Hochschild writes about the second shift, which is the housework and child rearing that typically falls on the shoulder of working mothers after they get home from their "first shift" job.
Hochschild makes the argument that typically women face a stalled revolution, although their opportunities and rights outside of the house has changed rapidly, norms about sharing housework and child raising have not updated from the industrial revolution.

The study has its issues, mainly th
May 25, 2016 Katty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a woman who's nearing the halfway point between twenty and thirty, I am now more than ever encountering a topic that I've long dreaded - marriage and family. I say dreaded not because I loathe men or children, am a raging feminazi lesbian, or any other absurd conservative stereotype. Rather, the dread comes from the reactions I get when I express my ambivalence towards having children and state that I am single by choice and not interested in changing my relationship status for the foreseeabl ...more
May 13, 2016 Maggie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, ethnographies
This was required reading for a second writing GE class I took first semester of my junior year in college. We were to read this ethnography, read a peer-reviewed research paper debunking the myths in this book, and then write a paper summing up both arguments. Needless to say, everyone knows GE stands for 'classes that no on wants to take but has to", so I was not particularly excited about this. I had hope this class I chose to fulfill the requirement called "American Family Issues" would disc ...more
May 18, 2011 Myonlycookie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book came as a recommendation from my boss, and I highly enjoyed it. It's a sociological look into married couples with young children, where both partners work. (Hochschild also primarily looks at middle-class couples, though has a few examples of lower-income families.) What Hochschild finds is that, overwhelmingly, the women in the marriages deal with the "second shift" - cleaning the house, acting as primary care-giver, and organizing the family schedule - in addition to their full time ...more
Carlos Burga
Sep 21, 2012 Carlos Burga rated it really liked it
Although Hochschild carried out her study in the 1970’s, her findings are nonetheless eye opening. She analyzes, quite superbly, the stalled revolution of the Second-wave feminism through the lens of changing, or not, roles in regards to household work. What once was deemed “women’s work”, now had to be readdressed with the increasing numbers of working women, especially working mothers. It is on this aspect, the “second shift” of a day for a working woman, that Hochschild is able to compare the ...more
Feb 06, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
This is the third time I've read this book. The first time, I was in college and I didn't get it. This time, I am reminded of what a brilliant sociological contribution this book makes, especially in its discussion of gender strategies, emotion work, and the economy of gratitude. It is huge that Hochschild went underneath what people said they did, examining the relationship between their stories ("myths") and their lives. I am struck by how little has changed since the 70s and early 80s when sh ...more
Tricia Rosetty
A few years ago, I told a girlfriend of mine that the reason women didn't run the world is we get distracted by housework. I was joking, but as it turns out, I wasn't too far from being right. Women work 2-4 extra weeks a year compared to their husbands when it comes to domestic and family care, and when pushed, men often avoid the work entirely (beds don't need made, hire a maid, etc.).

Prof. Hochschild's book offers fantastic insight into this imbalance and its many forms; I'd highly recommend
Dec 10, 2008 Izlinda rated it really liked it
I did not read all of this, but read most of it, and what was assigned for my sociology class. The writing is not very technical and it is easy to understand the points Arlie Hochschild is making. Some parts were rather repetitious, but the case studies, for the most part, taught me something new, or illuminated something better.

In truth, though, this book kind of scares me. I do want a career, and a family, too, someday, hopefully. I wouldn't want to be stuck with the "Second Shift" after putt
Jun 07, 2013 LuAnn rated it liked it
Hoped to finish this book with a big sigh of relief and a "thank-goodness-we've-come-so-far-since-then". Disappointed to find that no huge strides have been made (based on personal experience and of those close to me) and that we still lag miles behind other countries who benefit from government policies that support families, helping them to find that elusive balance between career, family/marriage.

Hitting hardest, the author reflects on "marital clashes [that] reflect a broader social tension
Feb 09, 2013 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, I'll admit that I've cited Arlie Horschild's work in this book without having ever read it until now. I was impressed at how this research, in which she presents the observations of 10 of the couples she and her colleague studied for years in the 1980s, remains so relevant to this day. Honestly, though this book is a sociological work, I think almost anyone could get something out of it.

The book takes a look at the politics of household work -- from gender ideologies to family myth-making -
Jun 23, 2013 Rene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found The Second Shift: Working Families to be extremely insightful. It provides the stories of a number of working families from a variety of backgrounds and the perspectives the men and women provide about their attitudes towards their marriages, housework, the value of their jobs, the importance of family, was extremely interesting...maybe even life changing. It notes, as does Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" that in marriages where both partners work, the amount of housework shared by the ...more
Apr 01, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
This book provoked a lot of thoughts to run through my head - it was good! It made me think... a LOT, about my choices and future.

The profiles of couples became a bit redundant, but I understand what she was working to accomplish with the collection of them. I find the meaty portions to be the beginning and end of the book, outside of the profiles. While the profiles provided a mirror in which to see yourself, your partner, your life and dynamics to be reflected.

I found Hochschild to be quite
Adanma Raymond
May 27, 2014 Adanma Raymond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At a time in my life where I am starting to think about what I want my future and career to look like, this was an important reminder of the cultural precedents and pressures in place that will impact my freedom to live the life I might want. It's hard to comprehend the sheer magnitude of Hochschild's research and what it meant at the time she published it, but its relevance today speaks volumes of how much is left to be done in the field of gender equality.
Timothy Volpert
Jul 24, 2014 Timothy Volpert rated it it was amazing
real talk. we have a long way to go, as a society and as individuals. this book made me examine my own marriage, and my role in the household, and honestly, even though we have both always believed in an even split, i was still shocked to see some of my own behaviors reflected in the case studies here. it is hard to look directly at one's own shortcomings, but it is, of course, essential to overcoming them. i will continue to strive to be a better husband, better man, better human, better femini ...more
Matthew Green
This is an important sociological study that has held up relatively well over the years. Perhaps if I had read this 25 years ago, it would've warranted at least another star. The 80s references are actually rather quaint, say when Hochschild refers to answering machines or pocketbooks. I thought The Second Shift could've been more throughly revised to incorporate more contemporary examples of related academic research, at least in the footnotes. Hochschild does this, but not until the Afterword, ...more
Jan 30, 2015 William rated it it was amazing
Put this on your reading list. Wonderful book that explores the stalled gender revolution of the 1970s through in-depth case studies of heterosexual, middle-class couples with young children. Extremely fascinating material.
Aug 15, 2016 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally done with the book!

Decided to read this because I was intrigued by the term "second shift". The book reads like assigned readings, but I'm glad I managed to complete it.

It's amazing how this book was written the year I was born, but it is still so relevant. Almost like nothing's changed. And it's just so coincidental that a couple in the TV series I'm currently watching got divorced because of the very issues that were raised in the book.

Issues explored in the book are worth thinking abo
May 25, 2014 Chai rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I can't believe I never read this book during my Workplace Flexibility 2010 years. It is incredible, right-on, and sadly still relevant in its theory. Aaargh!
Jul 11, 2016 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Repetitive at times but absolutely deserves its status as a modern classic of family, relationship and feminist writing.
Dec 14, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this book here:
Hochschild illustrates her topics with wrenching case studies. All parents should read this.
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Arlie Russell Hochschild is the author of The Outsourced Self, The Time Bind, Global Woman, The Second Shift, and The Managed Heart. She is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her articles have appeared in Harper's, Mother Jones, and Psychology Today, among others. She lives in San Francisco.
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“Formerly, many men dominated women within marriage. Now, despite a much wider acceptance of women as workers, men dominate women anonymously outside the marriage. Patriarchy has not disappeared; it has changed form. In the old form, women were forced to obey an overbearing husband in the privacy of an unjust marriage. In the new form, the working single mother is economically abandoned by her former husband and ignored by a patriarchal society at large.” 6 likes
“The workplace would allow parents to work part time, to share jobs, to take personal leaves to give birth, tend to a sick child, or care for a well one. As Delores Hayden has envisioned in Redesigning the American Dream, it would include affordable housing closer to places of work and perhaps community-based meal and laundry services.” 2 likes
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