ANT101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
November 26, 2012
In the Amish society they socialize with each other and not with the outside world. The men dress in dark conservative clothing and clean-shaved until they are married and then switch to having a beard. The women only wear full length skirts, their hair up in a bun covered with a bonnet. The culture believes technology weakens the structure of the family so the keep a distance from it. When doing field work the Amish use horse drawn machinery. The Amish are a horticultural-based culture. They plant their crops every year depending on the seasons. They are very conservative and strong on religion. This paper is focused on the Amish culture, primary mode of substance, and three aspects of the culture; their kinship, beliefs and values, and gender relations.
The Amish emigrated to Pennsylvania around the 1730s to benefit from the Quaker William Perm’s offer of protection for persecuted religions. Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of ‘hochmut’ (pride, arrogance) and the high value they place on ‘demut’ or humility and ‘gelassenheit’ (German, meaning: calmness, composure, placidity) (Scully 2007).
There are approximately 150,000 Amish living in “settlements” throughout the United States and Canada. The Amish follow a literal interpretation of the bible, a code of church disciplines called the “Ordnung” and adhere to the “Streng Meidnung” or shunning of erring community members who are excommunicated (Fisher 2002).
The Ordnung, a religious blueprint for expected behavior, regulates private, public, and ceremonial behavior. Unwritten in most settlements, the Ordnung is passed on by oral tradition. A body of understandings that defines Amish ways, the Ordnung marks expected Amish behavior: wearing a beard without a mustache; using a buggy; and speaking the dialect. It also specifies taboos: divorce; filing a lawsuit;...