Cover image for Amish enterprise : from plows to profits
Amish enterprise : from plows to profits
Kraybill, Donald B.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 286 pages : illustrations, map ; 23 cm.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX8128.E36 K73 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Amish culture has been rooted in the soil since its beginnings in 1693. But what happens when members of America's oldest Amish community enter non-farm work in one generation? How will hundreds of cottage industries and micro-enterprises reshape the heart of Amish life? Will traditional eighth grade education still prove adequate? What about gender roles, child-rearing practices, leisure activities, and growing ties with outsiders? Amish Enterprise was the first book to discuss these dramatic changes that are transforming Amish communities across North America. Based on interviews with more than 150 Amish entrepreneurs, the authors trace the rise and impact of businesses in Lancaster's Amish settlement in recent decades. In this new edition, the authors update demographic and technological changes, and also describe Amish enterprises outside of Pennsylvania in a new chapter.

Author Notes

Donald B. Kraybill is the Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow in the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania
Steven M. Nolt is an associate professor of history at Goshen College, Indiana

Reviews 1

Choice Review

At once sensitive and compassionate, this is a significant contribution to understanding how Amish culture in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is being transformed through the emergence of ethnic entrepreneurship, manifested in what the authors call microenterprises. "The development of Amish enterprises was a negotiated social process [and that] is the real story of this book--an exploration of the ways in which an ethnic culture both facilitated and resisted the emergence of entrepreneurship." A delicate balance between traditional Amish virtues of modesty, humility, and a tie to the land as a gift bestowed by Providence, on one hand, and cultural values that provide a frame for the microenterprise, on the other, is still being worked out as the plow is abandoned for work activity regarded as falling within the Amish worldview, even as that view is changing. The delicacy of that balance is beautifully illustrated by the discussion of "Amish electricity," reliance on hydraulic or pneumatic power to drive machinery and memory electric typewriters (but not computers) rather than use of alternating current produced elsewhere. Likewise, the interaction between the Lancaster Amish and external governments details the search for balance. This is scholarship at its best. All levels. L. Braude; SUNY College at Fredonia

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Part 1 The Cultural Context
1. The Roots of Amish Lifep. 3
Part 2 Cultural Resources for Entrepreneurship
2. From Plows to Profitsp. 19
3. A Profile of Amish Enterprisesp. 36
4. Homespun Entrepreneursp. 56
5. Labor and Human Resourcesp. 73
Part 3 Cultural Constraints on Entrepreneurship
6. The Moral Boundaries of Businessp. 93
7. Taming the Power of Technologyp. 106
8. Small-Scale Limitationsp. 125
Part 4 The Public Face of Amish Enterprise
9. Promotion and Professional Networksp. 143
10. Coping with Litigation and Liabilityp. 159
11. Negotiating with Caesarp. 173
12. Failure and Successp. 190
Part 5 The Transformation of Amish Society
13. The Fate of a Traditional Peoplep. 207
14. National Patterns of Amish Workp. 224
Appendixes Research Methods and Data Sourcesp. 245
Notesp. 249
Referencesp. 269
Indexp. 281