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The Old Order Amish

Having arrived in the United States in the early 1700s, members of the Old Order Amish have fought to maintain their distinct identity. Today, over 75 percent of the more than 100,000 Amish live in Pennsylvania. Ohio, and Indiana, where they practice their religious beliefs and remain a relatively closed social network. According to sociologists, this religious community is a subculture because its members share values and norms that differ significantly from those of people who primarily identify with the dominant culture. Thc Amish have a strong faith in God and reject worldly concerns. Their core values include the joy of work, the prim5cy of the home, faithfulness, thriftiness, tradition, and humility. The Amish hold a conservative view of the family, believing that women are subordinate to men, birth control is unacceptable, and wives -hould remain at home. Children (about seven per family) are cherished and seen as an economic asset: They help with the farming and other work. Many of the Old Order Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch (a dialect of German) as well as English. They dress in traditional clothing, live on farms, and rely on the horse and buggy (or transportation.

The Amish are aware that they share distinctive values and look different from other people; these differences provide them with a collective identity and make them feel close to one another (Schaefer and Zellner, 2(07). The belief system and group cohesiveness of the Amish remain strong despite the intrusion of corporations and tourists, the vanishing.farmlands, and increasing levels of government regulation in their daily lives (Schaefer and Zellner, 2007).

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