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Ems - Summer I ’11 - T101 Lecture 21: The Amish
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Ems - Summer I ’11 - T101 Lecture 21: The Amish

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  • Play The America of the Amish from 0:37-7:08
  • Clothes, demut, houses, church, focus on god and the simple life. Lots of kids, population is growing. The Amish enjoy a slow paced life, they value simplicity. They pick their work so that they can foster close family and community ties. There are some forms of work that present problems for this. In the Amish community today, because the population is growing so much, there is no land to buy for the kids. New generations are having to find new ways to make a living. They have to migrate away from their families to buy land in cheaper places.
  • Work for the amish: agriculture dwindling. Each community is different. Some communities are mostly in the tourism business. Some make things. Many of them are entrepreneurial in spirit. The Amish view their work as enjoyable and see it as fun. Like in the creative classes, for the Amish work and play go hand in hand. They enjoy animals and horses and enjoy working around them. They also enjoy spending time with their families and working on a farm allows them to do that.
  • They only go to school until 8th grade in many places. Amish are not proud people. They are humble and believe that no one individual should set themselves apart from the rest of the community. This is why they avoid flashy dress and only have black buggies and white houses.
  • Transportation: they get rides from people but do not drive themselves. They travel but like to make it hard for themselves. Again, this is about keeping the family and community together.
  • They do go on vacation and visit friends around the country. They take trains instead of flying most of the time or hire busses.
  • This is a joke.
  • Play The Amish a People of Preservation starting at 22:39-26:52. Think here about new communication technologies. The same rules apply to them as they do farm equipment for the Amish.
  • "The telephone, and the use of the telephone, is not something we're opposed to. We just don't want it to be the main part of our lives,” Phones are typically only used outside the house. With electricity and computers, microwaves, etc. they are allowed if they are used as part of work outside the home. The outbuildings house phones and are often shared with other families. Often they will have answering machines in them so the Amish can call people back at their convenience. The phone is not supposed to interrupt family time. Increasing numbers of young people and business people are starting to carry cell phones though. Tell the story of LaVern.
  • Play the Devil’s Playground from 1:04-3:41 & 10:46-17:25
  • They don’t care about trampolines, bikes, generators or tractors (with metal wheels). So long as a technology doesn’t interfere with the community or family coming together and enjoying themselves, it’s fine. Electricity, tractors with rubber wheels, cars, tv, radio and other technologies are seen as tearing the family apart. They make it easy for people to be independent. The amish want people to depend on each other. It draws people together.
  • Place does matter. There are certain things that change when someone is face to face with you. We all have certain etiquette that we follow when we use technologies. It can make other people feel disrespected when we talk to loud on our phones around others. We don’t know what the actual rules are though. They vary from social situation to social situation. We only have vague notions of what these are. We have to decide all on our own if we want or need a new technologic device. Will it bring us closer to people or not? We often buy it because it will give us status. We think status is what brings us closer to others. This is not true though. We adopt fashions and use words that we think will make us more awesome in the eyes of other people. What actually matters is knowing people. Doing things for them. Talking to them, listening to them. It’s hard to do these things when you’re not close by. Many of you know this because your families are far away. Unlike the Amish we don’t make decisions about how to navigate our adoption and use of technologies in public or in a community of people. We have to guess and only do so in our own minds. Often a shiny object makes us feel like it deserves our attention before those around us because we may have closer emotional or intellectual connections with the people on the other end of the line. Or the technology is just shiny and can do cool stuff. However, only associating with those just like us makes life boring and takes away spontaneity. We are all socially awkward and feel like we’re much smoother using technologies to communicate because it gives us a chance to manicure ourselves for others to see first. The Amish are a very interesting example of people who connect with others without doing all that manicuring. And, they really are quite happy in the lives they live.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Welcome to Summer
      T101 Day 21!
    • 2. Today is Amish day!
      Remember papers are due on Monday. They are 3-4 pages.
      It takes sill to say something substantial in 3-4 pages. Please
      Be concise and informative!
      The final exam is next Thursday. I will have a review guide
      (similar to last time) ready for you on Monday. On Wednesday
      we will do another review session. Please prepare ahead of time
      So you can come to class with questions.
      Today: Amish culture, their approaches to using technologies and
      how this all relates to the T101 Media Life Perspective.
    • 3. Why do we care about the Amish in T101 Media Life?
      Sometimes studying the absence of something tells you more about the thing than studying the thing itself.
      We all negotiate our use of technologies individually
      on a daily basis without noticing. The Amish do it publicly and collectively.
      The Amish are a (for the most part) a happy and
      content people.We might be able to learn something from they way they live.
    • 4. Who are the Amish?
    • 5. Amish values: Simplicity and a slow pace of life. Privileging the family and community over the individual.
    • 6. Amish work/play ethic
    • 7. Quilting for community: We are each a patch and only together do we create beauty.
    • 8. With education comes pride
    • 9. Transportation: location does matter (little boxes live on!)
    • 10. The Amish do travel though.
    • 11. And use the Internet
    • 12. The Amish have a unique perspective on adopting technologies.
    • 13.
    • 14.
    • 15. “During a church service in the summer, the buggies were parked right outside the shop, and in between songs a phone went off in a buggy right outside the shop. Needless to say , no one went out to shut it off, as no one wanted to be seen guilty. In a lot of communities cell phones are allowed in the regular Old Order Amish Communities.”
    • 16. Like everyone else, the Amish face challenges living in today’s world.
    • 17. So, how do the Amish decide which technologies they will accept and which they won’t?
    • 18. Philosophies on technology adoption:
      1) The Amish are selective. They know how to say "no" and are not afraid to refuse new things. They ban more than they adopt.
      2) They evaluate new things by experience instead of by theory. They let the early adopters get their jollies by pioneering new stuff under watchful eyes.
      3) They have criteria by which to select choices: technologies must enhance family and community and distance themselves from the outside world.
      4) The choices are not individual, but communal. The community shapes and enforces technological direction.
    • 19. What can the Amish teach us?
    • 20. Do I have to become Amish in order to be happy?
    • 21. Fortunately, no. but we should be better at negotiating our tech use. We need to understand our values and use our technologies in accordance with those philosophies and values.
      What are yours? How do techs fit in
      To your core values and the way you live those values out in the world?
    • 22. Reading Comprehension:
      What do you think about the Amish way of life? Is their philosophy slowing things down and outlawing certain technologies right? Do media like TV, radio and cell phones speed life up and interrupt family and community bonds? Or do these tools help bring people together?
      What from the Amish way of life or their approach to adopting technologies do you find appealing? What can it teach us about the technologically saturated media lives we live?
      Do you ever feel like unplugging from technologies like the Amish? Do you think you could do it?