Manufacturing Mennonites examines the efforts of Mennonite intellectuals and business leaders to redefine the group's ethno-religious identity in response to changing economic and social conditions after 1945. As the industrial workplace was one of the most significant venues in which competing identity claims were contested during this period, Janis Thiessen explores how Mennonite workers responded to such redefinitions and how they affected class relations. Through unprecedented access to extensive private company records, Thiessen provides an innovative comparison of three businesses founded, owned, and originally staffed by Mennonites: the printing firm Friesens Corporation, the window manufacturer Loewen, and the furniture manufacturer Palliser. Complemented with interviews with workers, managers, and business owners, Manufacturing Mennonites pioneers two important new trajectories for scholarship - how religion can affect business history, and how class relations have influenced religious history.
Introduction 1. The Mennonite Intellectual Elite: Yieldedness, Non-resistance, and Neighbourly Love 2. The Mennonite Workplace: Loewen Windows, Friesen Printers, and Palliser Furniture 3. Mennonite Corporate Mythology: The 'Reflections' Campaign 4. 'You Had to Know Everything; Otherwise, You Weren't Fit': Worker Experience and Identity 5. Unequally Yoked: Manitoba Mennonites and the Schreyer Government 6. 'No One Is Always Happy with His Environment': Union Drives and Corporate Responses Conclusion