An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the World's by Charles E. Hurst

By Charles E. Hurst

Holmes County, Ohio, is domestic to the most important and so much different Amish neighborhood on the earth. but, unusually, it is still rather unknown in comparison to its recognized cousin in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Charles E. Hurst and David L. McConnell performed seven years of fieldwork, together with interviews with over two hundred citizens, to appreciate the dynamism that drives social swap and schism in the payment, the place Amish companies and nonfarming employment have prospered. The authors contend that the Holmes County Amish are experiencing an remarkable and complicated means of swap as their expanding entanglement with the non-Amish marketplace motives them to reconsider their non secular convictions, relations practices, academic offerings, occupational shifts, and future health care innovations. The authors problem the preferred picture of the Amish as a homogeneous, static, insulated society, displaying how the Amish stability tensions among person wishes and group values. They locate that self-made millionaires paintings along suffering dairy farmers; winning girl marketers reside round the corner to stay-at-home moms; and youths either include and reject the coming-of-age ritual, rumspringa. An Amish Paradox captures the complexity and creativity of the Holmes County Amish, dispelling identical to the Amish as a vestige of a bygone period and displaying how they reinterpret culture as modernity encroaches on their special lifestyle. (2011)

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Additional info for An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the World's Largest Amish Community (Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies)

Sample text

Most of the resulting controversies involved such a thorny mixture of technology, doctrine, and personalities that they taxed the resilience of Amish mechanisms for informal conflict resolution. It is not easy to become familiar with the details of these church schisms, because the Amish are reluctant to talk with outsiders about “church matters” and because the names of the protagonists can be as confusing as the stories are complicated. As a result, these internal distinctions are usually glossed over by the non-Amish.

Instead, we show that the combination of 13 14 a an amish paradox a new outside pressures and internal distinctions has given rise to increasingly diverse decisions about religious and family life, school and work, and even health care. 16 It is, however, the first comprehensive analysis of that process in the Holmes County Settlement. 17 The paucity of scholarly attention is unfortunate because the Holmes County Settlement is not only the world’s largest Amish community but also the most complex.

The Amish are also far more likely to restrict the use of technology than are evangelical fundamentalists, who may drive nice cars, live in stately houses, and use television, radio, and the Internet. At first glance, the Holmes County Settlement appears to represent a homogeneous Amish population nestled in a relatively insular and conservative region. Consistent with this view, tourists visiting Berlin, Walnut Creek, and surrounding areas are offered a return to a supposedly authentic premodern world in which Amish behavior is traditional, communal, and unreflective.

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