Amish; technology; Study of Consumer Purchases; group differentiation; church discipline; 1930s; Lancaster County, PA
Plain groups differentiate themselves from the world, and from one another, by technology. It is worth recalling, however, that before the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Amish farmers and artisans used the same technologies as their neighbors, and were often more advanced than those around them in agricultural techniques and tools. This article examines the early development of technological differences as markers of subcultural boundaries based the massive Study of Consumer Purchases (S.C.P.) conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Bureau of Home Economics in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1935 and 1936.
The author would like to thank Katherine Jellison and an anonymous reader at Mennonite Quarterly Review for helpful comments on earlier drafts.
Reschly, Steven. 2014. "Makers and Markers of Distinction: Technology and Amish Differentiation in the 1935-1936 Study of Consumer Expenditures." Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 2(1):125-47.