Whenever one mentions countries that are most advanced, America definitely comes to mind. As far as different ethnicities are concerned, it is a melting pot. However, one community called the Amish keeps a safe distance from technology since it is their conviction that it weakens the family structure. One of the most profoundly distant subcultures that are found in America is the Amish. The members of this society socialize with one another, and they have very little interaction with the outside world (Kraybill 2003).
This paper intends to discuss the mode of subsistence of the Amish, and how this affects their economic organization, healing, sickness, and kinship. Further, the paper will discuss their values, political organization, beliefs, and social change.
The occupation that most Amish people desire is agriculture, and everyone in this culture is integrated into agricultural life early enough. One reason that has been floated to explain their preference for agriculture is that it was the easiest way that they could distance themselves from other cultures whom they deem “evil.” The men dress conservatively, mainly in dark colors, while the women wear full skirts. Any intermarriage is kept within the society which is genetically isolated to include first cousins. Divorce, which is a common occurrence in the western world, is not tolerated under any circumstances. The Amish are deeply religious, upright and peace loving. Their disregard for modern life is encouraged by their belief that they are preparing for a heavenly reward after death, and this explains their disregard for modern conveniences like electricity (Kraybill 2003). The lifestyle adopted by the Amish community is one that is solitary, and they do all they can to dissociate themselves from non-Amish communities. Livestock comes in handy in helping them adapt to this lifestyle. Their ideal meal comprises of oats, wheat, and corn.
Their Western Europe origin implies that the skin code that they carry is light. This has more to do with natural selection and not simply they were born that way. The region that they come from is not one that is exposed to sunlight, and this also explains their genetic composition of little melanin. Their stature and height are yet other physical adaptations. Over time, the cultural adaptations evolved by the Amish are numerous. This has significantly helped them fit into their current environment. This is the one area where their adaptations reflect that of other American subcultures when faced with winter conditions. They utilize snow boots, thick coats, and blankets for purposes of trapping heat, and they also use fire extensively. Their simple clothing is yet another cultural adaptation, and this also ensures that they distance themselves from the non-Amish cultures (Nolt, 2010). Their simplistic choice of clothing also ensures that they do heat much given that they spend so much time on farms. They also have certain adaptations with regards to agricultural lifestyle. Their adaptations, however, ensure that modern technological adaptations are avoided at all cost. They view technology as being a “burden” that would only stray them from their beliefs. The agricultural lifestyle is also helpful in the preservation of their culture and lifestyle.
Just like all other ethnicities, the Amish have certain language adaptations. They have adopted a kind of German dialect that is referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch. In school, however, their children are mainly taught English, and this is the language that is most often used. There are many benefits for this, especially their heavy reliance on tourism funds. In some special occasions such as religious events, High German is mostly preferred. Their children only attend their own schools, and they usually have large families (Nolt, 2010).
The Amish subculture is known for its conservative culture, and this implies that their reliance on traditional gender roles is almost unrivaled. Different genders are viewed from a traditional perspective, and this explains the roles played by each. Men are expected to portray the head of a family role, and their word mostly goes uncontested. This implies that all difficult manual work such as building shelter and farming is left to them. The women of the Amish subculture are expected to be submissive, and they also have certain defined roles that they carry out for the smooth running of the society. Such roles include keeping the family together, producing food items and making clothing items (Kraybill 2003). It is these gender roles that largely define their culture. To a contemporary feminist, this may not be the ideal way to treat women, but according to the Amish, this is the best solution to preserving their culture.
The simple subsistence pattern of the Amish has seen them struggle for long. Even with the evolution and advancement of agricultural techniques, the Amish subculture has simply avoided all the modern day advances that agriculture has seen. The methods and techniques of livestock maintenance and crop harvesting that they possess are still simplistic. This mode of subsistence that is simplistic has seen them harvest and grow food items that are simple to produce. Their heavy reliance on crops that are annual such as oats, wheat and corn is an attestation of this. However, they also try to harvest goods that are seasonal such as vegetables and fruits just for convenience purposes (Nolt, 2010). This implies that their main nutrition source is carbohydrates, although they also enjoy fatty foods as well as those that are protein-rich. They also raise livestock, including cows, bulls, hogs, and chicken, and this implies that their nutritional diet is largely balanced. Compared to the normal diet of a typical American, which is normally fast food, this option is obviously better.
Although the Amish subculture has traditional and strict genders, egalitarian social relation still forms a critical part of their belief, whereby all members are subjected to the same treatment without any biases whatsoever. This is regardless of who is regarded to have gender roles that are more prominent. Even though men are regarded as the authoritative figure does not imply that they get bigger portions when harvests are done, and this further underlines the level of equality that is upheld by the Amish community. In actuality, they believe that all family members should at least play a part in the farming activities (Kraybill 2003). From a tender age, Amish children are groomed to be hard-working, since their lifestyle is one that encourages such. This also plays a role in shutting them from the modernized world which they believe will compromise their beliefs and morals…