Distorting mirrors: Mutual (mis)interpretations of Old Colony Mennonites and the Modern World
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For Old Colony Mennonites, like for other radical protestant groups, the creation of a church of believers involves the “separation from the world”, which involves a selective attitude towards the adoption of modernity, technologies and knowledge. Based on fieldwork among Old Colony Mennonites in Bolivia and Argentina, this essay explores how this group’s relationship with modernity is established by contrasting their mutual construction and interpretation of each other. I show that the reading the Mennonites do of modernity and technology, mirrors their historical experience with the nation-state as well as the representations the latter have of the former. This paper is hence a contribution to the critique of modern understandings of historicity and technology and on how it constructs the others it excludes and through which it defines itself agains.