Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2019 Volume 15 :: Article 3
2019 Volume 15, Article 3
Fostering Interaction in a Strict Non-communal Group: A Case Study of Amish Visiting Practices

Author: Rachel E. Stein (West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia), Katie E. Corcoran (West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia), Corey J. Colyer (West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia)

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ABSTRACT

Frequent interaction among group members fosters affective commitment. Establishing a strong bond to the group is especially important for strict, high cost groups, and yet some such groups have beliefs that make frequent interaction difficult. We use the Old Order Amish as a case study to examine the use of visiting groups to foster interaction among the members of a non-communal, strict religious group for which regular interaction among all members is difficult. Our results indicate that the visiting group provides interaction and positive emotional experiences for the core group, the guests of the core group, and those who are visited. In addition to providing face to- face interaction with members who are otherwise isolated from the community, the activities of the visiting group are published via a scribe report in an Amish newspaper. As such, the entire community receives information on community members and benefits from the interactions of the visiting group.

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