The Amish Struggle with Modernity
Edited by Donald B. Kraybill and Marc A. OlshanE-book: $19.99
This is certainly the best academic introduction to contemporary Amish Culture yet published.
This is certainly the best academic introduction to contemporary Amish Culture yet published. But it is also more than that--modernity comes under as much scrutiny as do the Amish. Rejecting all nostalgic approaches...the editors argue for a hardheaded appraisal of the Amish’s ongoing ‘warfare’ against modernity--a warfare that is similar to the less intense resistances numerous other groups have also raised against the modern world.
The Amish communities of North America have throughout their history tried to remain separate from the currents of progress that swirl in the larger society. The Amish Struggle with Modernity argues that although the nation's nearly 140,000 Amish continue to resist the influence of worldly institutions, the communities have nonetheless acquiesced to modernity in significant ways. Such change has not been easy and The Amish Struggle with Modernity examines on a national scale dilemmas that arise when a people devoted to plain living face the complexities of modern life. New technology, growing bureaucracies, changing gender roles, migration and tourism, and a dramatic shift from a farm-based economy to cottage industries, microenterprises, and factory labor are just some of the issues behind the adaptation and compromise that has inevitably accompanied Amish survival.
—Midwest Book Review
DONALD B. KRAYBILL is Professor of Sociology at Elizabethtown College, Director of the Young Center for the Study of Anabaptist and Pietist Groups, and author of The Amish and the State (1993), Old Order Amish (1993), and The Riddle of Amish Culture (1989). MARC A. OLSON is Professor of Sociology at Alfred University and author of numerous articles on the Old Order Amish.