Sanctifying Leisure: International Tourism among America’s Amish-Mennonites

American Studies Journal

Anderson, Cory, and Jennifer Anderson. 2017.


Research Points
  • As Amish-Mennonites moved from farming to wage labor, work became more differentiated and disillusioning, leading them to vacationing for rejuvenation, much as with mainstream Americans.

  • However, Amish-Mennonite vacations have a greater tendency to reflect Weber’s Protestant work ethic – vacations tend toward complimenting religious goals.

  • A prime vacation activity has been volunteer tourism at mission churches abroad, enabling meaningful evangelism not fully possible in everyday American life where ethnic sectarianism is pronounced and, therefore, religiosity is more strongly differentiated from everyday life such as work.

  • Visiting mission sites also lets Amish-Mennonite tourists see places and peoples romanticized in missionary memoirs they read and creating excitement about an otherwise routine ethnic sectarian faith. More visitors see (1) new mission sites and (2) sites retaining strong North American ties.

  • Amish-Mennonites carefully adapted the practice of vacationing to some traditional religious views without negating others, reinforcing identity.

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