LOYAL, Wisconsin Horse manure is the main concern of the non-Amish, or who the Amish call the English, population. Many Amish commuters that travel to town via horse and buggy have lately failed to clean up their horse droppings. The Amish use the banks and stores of the town, and are important to these businesses for their patronage. However, many residents have lately become offended by the smell and concerned about health risks associated with the Amish's horse manure. Many English want to restrict the Amish to using manure-catching diapers and only traveling on the town's trucking routes. On the other hand, the Amish prefer free reign over all roads, and find that the diapers are unsafe to use .
[...] They live in a ‘diaspora' strictly separated from all personal intercourse, except that of an unavoidable sort by virtue of their economic indispensability, they are tolerated and they live in interspersed political communities.” (189) Weber also notes here that the interactions between ethnicities and other status groups do exist, but only to the minimum that material interests necessitate such relationships. Status groups contribute to social stratification and inequality by what creating what Weber terms “social closure.” He explains that members of the same status groups often give one another preferential treatment over non-members, and participate in commerce with such bias, creating a “hindrance of the free development of the market” in the process (191). [...]
[...] Weber herein helps us understand why the English taxpayers would do something as apparently contradictory as exclude the Amish from desirable roads, and equally, why the Amish would do something as apparently contradictory as boycott Loyal businesses. Other Theoretical Approaches: The events in Loyal could easily be seen with a more class-oriented Weberian lens. For instance, one could say that the Amish are exploiting the material interests of the bankers and business owners of Loyal by threatening a boycott. In doing so, we could say that they are effectively separating the English status group into classes the classic “divide [...]
[...] Weber would undoubtedly describe the Amish as an status group, as they are a status group that a very segregated and distinct status group. The Amish coexist with the English in various horizontal relationships, that is to say, are neither subordinate nor superior to the English. This is largely a result of their residential self-segregation and independence, though one Amish representative also says that, among the scanty interactions that they have with the English, he has does not “detect any prejudice as a whole.” It is also clear that the Amish “believe in blood relationship” and “exclude exogamous marriage and social intercourse,” since their communities are built upon biologically-tied families and generally exist separate from the English. [...]
[...] There is some more information about this situation which would help us understand it with a Weberian lens. For instance, it would be interesting to know if there is a serious health risk, as one resident suggests in the article, or if there is only a small chance of disease from the manure-hungry flies. If so, this could potentially change the scope of the conflict to one endangering the health of both status groups, rather than just offending the sensibilities of one. [...]
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