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|Title:||Preserving the Simple Life: Social Change and Boundary Maintenance among the Old Order Mennonites|
|Keywords:||social change;boundary maintenance;mennonite;sociology|
|Abstract:||<p> In contrast to the fast-paced changes and lifestyle that are endemic to modem, secular society, the Old Order Mennonites live a simple, religious life and aim to keep it that way by mediating change. How they are actively able to preserve their culture is the focus of this dissertation. The Old Order Mennonite community of Waterloo Region in southwestern Ontario, Canada served as the case study for understanding the minded aspects of social change and continuity. Fourteen in-depth, qualitative interviews were held with current and former Old Order Mennonites. A further five interviews were conducted with public school teachers and principals. Two interviews with health care providers and four interviews with members of more liberal Mennonite churches were also carried out. These additional interviews offered perspectives on the dynamics of Old Order Mennonite to non Mennonite interaction and provided general background data on the Old Order way of life. Participant-observation in participants' homes, workplaces, schools, and churches was also undertaken. </p> <p> Building on Barth's (1969) notion of social boundary maintenance and working from an interactionist perspective on social change, I argue that the key ways in which the Old Order manage change revolve around: (a) social distancing through isolation (e.g., farming, separate schooling) and insulation (e.g., technological barriers such as the continued use of the horse and buggy, distinct language, and conservative dress); (b) taking a "prescribed" approach to change such that the group's leaders control and dictate change through the Ordnung (church rules) and manage both internal issues (e.g., problems with youth) and external threats to continuity (e.g., a turbulent farm industry); and, (c) constructing and maintaining an ideology which reinforces the Old Order way of life as sacred and worthy of preservation. </p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Kleinknecht_Steven_W_2010_Phd.pdf||34.77 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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