Paradigmatic Paradigm Problems: Theory Issues in Amish Studies

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

Show full item record

Files Size Format View
JAPAS_Reschly_vol5-issue1_pp66-81.pdf 112.7Kb PDF View/Open

Title: Paradigmatic Paradigm Problems: Theory Issues in Amish Studies
Creators: Reschly, Steven
Keywords: Agriculture
Pierre Bourdieu
Kalona, Iowa
Johnson County, Iowa
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Anabaptists, France
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Ohio State University. Libraries
Citation: Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies v. 5, no. 1 (2017), p. 66-81.
Abstract: Scholars of Amish history and culture, and scholars of Anabaptist and Anabaptist-descent groups more generally, have not engaged consistently or productively with mainstream theoretical developments in social and cultural studies. The phrase used most often in Amish Studies, "negotiating with modernity," has limited usefulness because of its abstractions and time restrictions. A viable alternative rises from the research and writings of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who formulated Habitus and Field as terms to theorize about the interaction of internal and external in human experience, perhaps the oldest and thorniest issue in the social sciences. Reformulated for more general use as "structuring intuition" and "structured intuition" can help, for example, historicize Amish Studies and, by extension, research on other Anabaptist groups. An example of how this might operate is provided by the history of Anabaptist and Amish agriculture from the early modern European "agricultural revolution" to the early twenty-first century. Habitus and Field enable one to describe and explain the consistencies of Amish habits of mind concerning agriculture, or their "structuring intuition," as those habits confront and adjust to shifting economic, political, social, and cultural environments, or field as "structured intuition." Brief examples from eighteenth-century France, nineteenth-century Iowa, twentieth-century Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and early twenty-first century Iowa must suffice to outline what this portable adaptation of Bourdieu might produce.
ISSN: 2471-6383
Rights: The author retains copyright ownership of this article. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the author.
Bookmark and Share