An analysis of the dialogical exchange between the American politico-legal system and the Amish

Green, Frederique Marie Odile (2023). An analysis of the dialogical exchange between the American politico-legal system and the Amish. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study explores the interaction between the American politico-legal system and the Amish Christian minority at federal, state and local level and argues that there are three models in interaction: the ‘negotiation model’, the ‘constitutionalism model’, and the ‘hybrid model’.

Based on archival research and semi-structured interviews of American authorities in Indiana, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania and a sample of Amish leaders, case studies are used to emphasise relations between American governance and Amish.

Earlier scholarship mostly suggested a ‘negotiation model’ operating between governments and Amish groups, in which legal disputes are settled through mutual understanding. This research identified two complementary models working at state and federal levels to bridge the tension between the American democracy and the Amish theocracy. Analysis of empirical data confirmed that principles established by the Founders in the Bill of Rights (1791) attached to the American Constitution (1787) operate to protect freedom of religion and equality before the law of all American citizens including Amish sectarian groups. This thesis argues that the ‘negotiation model’ can still function at local level but that the ‘constitutionalism model’ also describes the way Amish respond to U.S. State or individual state intervention. A third ‘hybrid model’ operates, combining elements of the two other models. Thus, this research opens new perspectives in understanding how religious groups with constitutional rights may progressively assimilate/integrate into the American liberal democracy.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion


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