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Subsistence Modes and Their Impact on the Amish Culture - Research Paper Example

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Subsistence Modes and Their Impact on the Amish Culture Instructor name Date During the study of culture, one of the more important elements to take into consideration is the method by which the people subsisted. Subsistence generally refers to the means by which an individual or group of people supports themselves at a minimum level…
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Download file to see previous pages It does not require settlement, but it is also not reliable and makes it difficult to prepare for difficult times. Horticulture refers to the science of cultivating plants for human use which requires a great deal of knowledge regarding which plants are the most useful for which activities and how to make them grow. Pastoral lifestyles are characterized by herding large numbers of livestock around open land areas according to the seasons and availability of water. This type of lifestyle requires the availability of open land and the ability to move around. An agricultural form of subsistence can be thought of as farming, raising both animals and crops to support human life. This is different from an agrarian lifestyle only in that the agrarian lifestyle focuses on an entire community working together, all of them relying on agriculture as the base means of support but not all being engaged in farming as their personal means of support. An industrial society is recognizable to most of us simply because it is closest to the type of society we live in today in the modern world dominated by businesses, technology, mass production, and masses of people everywhere. However, there are still some societies that have managed to hold onto older forms of subsistence even in the face of widespread industrialization. By studying societies such as the Amish, it is possible to understand how a cultural group's form of subsistence helps to shape other elements of their culture such as their attitudes to religion, family life, and marriage. The Amish are a relatively isolated group of horticulturalists living in scattered pockets throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. According to Powell (2012), "The first sizeable group of Amish arrived in America around 1730 and settled near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as a result of William Penn's 'holy experiment' in religious tolerance" (p. 1). This group of people disagreed with the Anabaptists in Switzerland regarding some foundational religious concepts associated with their selected lifestyle, causing them to move to the Americas and begin their own religious sect. As a group, the Amish are dedicated to the horticultural way of life, which works to grow fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials necessary for survival within a self-contained, self-sustaining community of close-knit individuals. They believe in living as close to the land as they can, doing things naturally and depending on nature to meet their various needs. "Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of 'huchmut' (pride, arrogance) and the high value they place on 'demut' or humility and 'gelassenheit' (German, meaning: calmness, composure, placidity)" (Scully, 2007, p. 30). This natural approach to life was easy back when they first moved to America and the land was mostly wilderness, but as the land became more populated and particularly once it began to industrialize, it was their dedication to their traditional means of subsistence that led them to isolate themselves further and further from the rest of the world, as they found it necessary to create rules that would govern and protect their way of life. "All aspects of Amish life are dictated by a list of written or oral rules, known as Ordnung, which outlines the basics of the Amish faith and helps to define what it means ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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