The Amish Community: the Effects of Subsistence on Aspects of a Culture
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The Amish Community: The Effects of Subsistence on Aspects of a Culture
Ilda Jimenez y West
October 29, 2012
The Amish Community:
The Effects of Subsistence on Aspects of a Culture Any person who observes an Amish community may catch a glimpse of a lifestyle that looks as if it adheres to no modicum of logic. Why would a whole group of people choose to live without the technology that makes life so much easier? The answer is simple and uncomplicated; cultural preservation. The Amish are culturally aware of themselves, and as such have put forth the effort to sustain their traditions and way of life for hundreds of years (Kraybill, 2001). The further technology advances in the world outside of the Amish…show more content… Men are the breadwinners and thus the head of the household; women ensure the upkeep of the home and the upbringing of the children (Donnermeyer & Friedrich, 2002). These gender roles begin at a very young age. In some societies, such as pastoralist societies, this division of labor via gender creates an environment of inequality in favor of male family members (Nowak & Laird, 2010). This is not the case in an Amish household; each family member is respected and valued for the person they are, and also for the work they accomplish.
The strong nuclear family and the division of labor being gender-based provide the Amish with a strategy to impress upon their children the importance of their beliefs (Donnermeyer & Friedrich, 2002). Young members of an Amish community are not required to be baptized into their faith until eighteen years of age (Kraybill, 2001). Eighteen years living within an Amish community results in these kids knowing nothing else and it is often easy for them to make the decision to continue living their experienced lifestyle. However, should an Amish child refuse, they would be shunned. Shunning is the practice within the Amish community of excommunicating members who do not hold to the community beliefs. Most parents would like to keep their children as close as possible, which is just another motivation for immersing their children in the Amish world in order to keep them from being shunned.
Often, two or three generations of