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Amish Technology: Reinforcing values and building community

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1 Author(s)

The Amish believe that their society and their technology are inextricably intertwined. In an effort to maintain and protect their community of believers, therefore, the Amish require that every technology they use not only conforms to, but reinforces their tradition, culture, and religion. They achieve these goals through two primary techniques. First they choose technologies that they believe will best promote the values they hold most dear - values like humility, equality, and simplicity. Thus they have rejected the speed, glamour and personal expression of automobiles in favor of modest, slow. and community-building horse- drawn buggies. Second, they deliberately choose tools that are different from those used by the outside world. This differentiation helps them maintain their unique identity, bonds their community, and ensures that they will continue to be able to accept technology on their own terms. The Amish view technologies as value-laden tools and use these tools to reinforce their values and build their community. While many scholars of technology have argued that this is the case, the Amish employ the idea in order to build the world they want to live in.

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Summer 2007

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