Society & Culture – An Amish Study
There are stark and numerous differences between the insular and parochial traditions of the Amiss and the secular, freedom 21st century, such as family, power and authority, roles and status, gender, conflict, co-operation and decision making. This can be seen In the way gender dictates life In both respective communities.
Amiss women are expected to be modest (In terms of dress, manner and conduct meek and hardworking to support their husbands and families. They are devout Christians and use scripture as the cornerstone and standard by which to live their ivies.
In contrast the modern day woman, may or may not be married, with or without children. Religion is also not central to the home and life in general, with atheism being one of the fastest growing philosophies that people are identifying by. The main source of power within the Amiss world is the male head of the family. The father within the Amiss community forms the backbone of the family economically, labor-wise and organizationally within the farm or business and this support is expected to be recognized.
Language is another differing concept between society and the Amiss, with essentially every Amiss citizen being trilingual. The Amiss speak a dialect of German called Pennsylvania Dutch at home and use High German during worship services. They refer to common English when dealing with anyone who Is not Amiss. This Is not the norm for the general population, with most Western collocation children being raised in a home with only English. A second language may be optionally learnt in school.
Education is also kept within a very specific framework for he Amiss.
As manual labor is an integral part of the Amiss way of life children are often put to work in some way as soon as they are able to walk. Therefore Amiss children are only taught a formal education up until our equivalent year 8 as any more time spent educating would be time that could have been spent working. Even then, Amiss children are taught in their own private schoolhouses within their community by Amiss teachers.
It is highly unusual for the Amiss to obtain any other form of higher education. Matrimony almost always occurs around the age of twenty for the Amiss, with a formal courtship ritual In place.
Almost always and In secret the boy will ask the girl to accompany him on the return home from Sunday evening singing in his buggy. A couple’s intention to marry will only be revealed a few weeks before the actual wedding ceremony. Juxtaposed to this is the fact that average Western courtship in comparison is very informal and casual.
Couples may date for as short or as long as they like and rarely ever is the relationship a secret. In some cases marriage never even occurs.
Power and authority is another differing aspects of both ways of life with the Amiss seeing the Bible as a major source of power and authority in their community. Bishops have a particularly authoritative role amongst the Amiss as they are In the community eyes a direct link to the orotund and God. The orotund Is akin to a set of rules and traditions that are parallel to Amiss ethics, values and morals.
Through interpretation of this orotund and implementation of It, he unofficial council of elders holds effective authority within In an Amiss community. In modern society this kind of power and authority Is only wielded by police and the legal system, which is enforced by the government. Aspects of life that conservative Amiss community include gender and its influence in the home and wider community, language, education, courtship & marriage, and power & authority.
These differences are the foundations that the Amiss base their lives, values and rituals upon.