Recent growth in Amish-themed tourism has created increased exposure and new intersections between Amish and non-Amish worlds. Research has focused on negative impacts of tourism in commodifying Amish culture that is assumed to be agricultural and homogenous, while neglecting views of Amish who encourage and participate in tourism. This research explores how Amish business owners are co-producing tourist encounters, how they use and view Amish branding, and how they perceive the impact of tourism on the Amish culture. I investigate Amish perceptions through interviews and participant observation with primarily Amish business owners in Holmes County, Ohio. This study draws on Alexis Bunten’s analysis of self-commodification and Edward Bruner’s transformation of self in tourist settings and analysis of co-production in touristic borderzones. I use their theories to understand Amish business owners’ participation in tourism, how they are co-producing the tourist encounter, and how tourism affects their perceptions of the world and their own identities. As Amish embrace tourism, they are redefining the long-standing value of “separation from the world.”

Amish business owners contribute to the far-reaching transformation of the Holmes County settlement. Although some Amish business owners recognize the potential negative effects tourism brings to the community, they continue to co-produce the process of tourism to a great degree through advertising and performances. Furthermore, my research shows that Amish business owners were surprisingly positive about the impacts tourism has on their community. Though they have entered edges of the touristic borderzone, they have maintained a personal sphere sharply separate from outside influences, while recognizing that the meaning of “separation from the world” has shifted due to tourism. Amish business owners have been able to negotiate tourism in a way that confirms their identity positively as both Amish and Christian, and contributes to a stronger sense of identity.


McConnell, David

Second Advisor

Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Paris Brielle Nahas