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An Amish Paradox

Diversity and Change in the World's Largest Amish Community

Charles E. Hurst and David L. McConnell

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Winner, 2011 Dale Brown Book Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College

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…

Winner, 2011 Dale Brown Book Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College

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.

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An Amish Paradox

Charles E. Hurst and David L. McConnell

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Reviews

Reviews

Hurst and McConnell's thorough, readable analysis of the world's largest Amish settlement is fascinating from a variety of perspectives... Highly recommended.

Hurst and McConnell, obviously sympathetic to the Amish they study, are to be commended for their extensive research and their careful attention to nuance and exception.

A number of excellent books have been written about the Amish in recent years and An Amish Paradox joins the ranks of the best of them. A wonderful book.

An Amish Paradox is a richly detailed and highly readable account of one settlement of Amish, perhaps the most visible ethnic religious minority in the United States. It is well-researched and free of jargon... [A] good choice for an advanced course in anthropology or sociology on religion, ethnicity, community, identity, or social change.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
376
ISBN
9780801893995
Illustration Description
39 halftones, 3 line drawings, 4 maps
Table of Contents

List of Figures, Maps, and Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Discovering the Holmes County Amish
2. The Origins of Religious Diversity
3. Coping with Church Schism
4. Continuity and Change in Family Life
5

List of Figures, Maps, and Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Discovering the Holmes County Amish
2. The Origins of Religious Diversity
3. Coping with Church Schism
4. Continuity and Change in Family Life
5. The Changing Landscape of Learning
6. Work Within and Outside Tradition
7. Health along the Life Cycle
8. Stepping Back and Looking Forward
Appendixes
A. Methodology
B. Ohio Amish Settlements, 2008
C. Holmes County Settlement Amish Church Schisms, 1900–2001
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Charles E. Hurst

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.
Featured Contributor

David L. McConnell

David L. McConnell is a professor of anthropology at the College of Wooster. He is a coauthor of An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the World's Largest Amish Community.