Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Anthropology

Supervisor

Sherrie Larkin

Abstract

This research examines the reciprocal influences of the Old Order Mennonite community and tourism in St. Jacobs, Ontario. It is an ethnographic account of encounters between tourists and the Old Order Mennonite community who have both benefited from and been challenged by tourism development for four decades in the area of St. Jacobs. Cultural generalization and different ways of over-representing and misrepresenting the Old Order Mennonite identity has triggered tourists’ curiosity to seek the nostalgic past and social interactions with the Old Order Mennonite community. Even though tourism in St. Jacobs has been initiated and managed with the purpose of protecting the Old Order Mennonite community by providing a proper way of introducing the Old Order Mennonite lifestyle to outsiders, the thriving of tourism has brought an excessive amount of attention to the Old Order Mennonite community. Tourism provides more economic opportunities to the Old Order Mennonite community, while at the same time; it brings new risks. With the development of tourism, the village of St. Jacobs has been transformed from a rural farming service centre to a tourism town, and lost its main service functions to the Old Order Mennonite community. The data of this research is gathered through in-depth participant observation, formal and informal interviews by living within the Old Order Mennonite community in the area of St. Jacobs.


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