An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the World's Largest Amish Communityby Charles E. Hurst, David L. McConnell
Holmes County, Ohio, is home to the largest and most diverse Amish community in the world. Yet, surprisingly, it remains relatively unknown compared to its famous cousin in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Charles E. Hurst and David L. McConnell conducted seven years of fieldwork, including interviews with over 200 residents, to understand the dynamism that drives social
Holmes County, Ohio, is home to the largest and most diverse Amish community in the world. Yet, surprisingly, it remains relatively unknown compared to its famous cousin in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Charles E. Hurst and David L. McConnell conducted seven years of fieldwork, including interviews with over 200 residents, to understand the dynamism that drives social change and schism within the settlement, where Amish enterprises and nonfarming employment have prospered. The authors contend that the Holmes County Amish are experiencing an unprecedented and complex process of change as their increasing entanglement with the non-Amish market causes them to rethink their religious convictions, family practices, educational choices, occupational shifts, and health care options.
The authors challenge the popular image of the Amish as a homogeneous, static, insulated society, showing how the Amish balance tensions between individual needs and community values. They find that self-made millionaires work alongside struggling dairy farmers; successful female entrepreneurs live next door to stay-at-home mothers; and teenagers both embrace and reject the coming-of-age ritual, rumspringa.
An Amish Paradox captures the complexity and creativity of the Holmes County Amish, dispelling the image of the Amish as a vestige of a bygone era and showing how they reinterpret tradition as modernity encroaches on their distinct way of life.
Jonathan G. Andelson
Joseph F. Donnermeyer and Cory Anderson
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Publication date:
- Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are saying about this
This is one of the finest books on the Amish that I have ever read. Not only do the authors introduce us to the richness, nuances, and paradoxes of Amish life in Holmes County,Ohio, but they write with a clarity and grace too often absent in thought-provoking books. I will make it required reading for my Amish cultures courses.
Richard A. Stevick, author of Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years
A fascinating book! This work offers a long-overdue exploration of the Holmes County area Amish community and clearly demonstrates how diverse Amish life is. As McConnell and Hurst show, while the Amish thrive, they don't all do so in the same way and may be as different from each other as they are from us. Well-written and engaging, An Amish Paradox offers much, both to the average reader and to the Amish expert.
Karen Johnson-Weiner, author of Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools
An Amish Paradox is a fascinating and thorough study of the world’s largest Amish settlement, with all its diversity and dynamism. Hurst and McConnell offer keen observations on education, occupation, and health care, as well as insight into inter-Amish relationships and the place of those who leave the community.
Steven M. Nolt, coauthor of Plain Diversity: Amish Cultures and Identities
Meet the Author
Charles E. Hurst is emeritus professor of sociology at The College of Wooster and author of Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences and Living Theory: The Application of Classical Social Theory to Contemporary Life. David L. McConnell is a professor of anthropology at The College of Wooster, coeditor of Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States, and author of Importing Diversity: Inside Japan’s JET Program.
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