The Amish are one of the few Western cultures represented among the peaceful societies on this website. Their simple lifestyle stands in stark contrast to their highly modernized neighbors and results in a fascination with their way of life through Amish tourism and academic studies. However, like any other culture, they have their own internal struggles and means of creating conformity. Shunning is one means of social control that is mentioned when an Amish family allowed themselves to be filmed by outsiders, which is strictly forbidden.
However, while this is an important aspect of their society, it reflects only a fraction of their unique behaviors. As a result, we have chosen to highlight the general lifestyle of the Amish so that viewers might better understand their peaceful and cohesive ways of living, which stand as one of their most celebrated traits in comparison to the surrounding U.S. culture that places an emphasis on individualism and competition. For additional information on the Amish please see the encyclopedia and news and reviews of this website.
“Amish: A Secret Life” (59:04): The BBC was invited by an Old Order Amish family to learn more about their way of life. The viewer is introduced to their everyday activities and religious steadfastness. In addition, it covers topics such as child rearing, gender roles, religious gatherings, and the practice of shunning.
“Who Are the Amish?” (1:00:41): In this lecture, Mark Louden, Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, provides a concise review of the Amish and their origins. More specifically, he addresses Amish stereotypes and the objectification of the Amish by tourism, as well as important topics such as spirituality, forgiveness, and the connectedness of Amish families.
“Amish Grace: A Book Review” (6:00): In this six minute news segment, Bill Moyer reviews the book, Amish Grace, which describes the tragic shooting of ten Amish schoolgirls. Acting in the Amish tradition of forgiveness, the families of five of the girls who died sought out the wife and parents of the shooter in order to express forgiveness of his violent act.
“A Simple Life” (56:31): This documentary explores the Amish of Holmes County, Ohio. Although the focus is primarily on Amish tourism, it does provide interesting insights into the lives of several of the Amish business people interviewed for the film. It also demonstrates the magnitude of Amish tourism and it’s effects on the community.