Nacirema Culture

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Nacirema Culture
A Review of the Literature

Abstract
Various anthropologists and sociologists have used the term Nacirema to examine aspects of the behavior and society of citizens of the United States of America. Nacirema offers a form of word play by spelling “American” backwards. This literature review will explain how “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” relates to ethnocentrism.

Nacirema Culture
A Review of the Literature
“Body Ritual among the Nacirema” by (Miner, June 1956) describes Nacirema as a little-known tribe living in North America between Mexico and Canada. Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. When first reading the paper it was a slight culture shock but after further reading I realized the paper was actually describing modern-day Americans. After I finished reading the paper I had a much better understanding of how other cultures see Americans and how they see us. Which would be an example of ethnocentrism; the tendency to assume that one’s own culture and way of life represents the norm or is superior to others. Ethnocentrism

In the paper Miner attempts to make us unwittingly use our cultural prejudices against our own societal mores. He chose not to directly reveal that the paper was about Americans in order to demonstrate people’s ethnocentric tendencies. Ultimately I believe Miner hoped to help his readers realize that, just like every other culture, Americans have plenty of cultural practices that when viewed objectively appear highly illogical and even ridiculous. Upon reaching this revelation, it follows that we should view the mores of other cultures with a renewed objectivity and understanding. However, I believe it is crazy to think that we can ever completely purge ourselves of all cultural biases or ethnocentricity. From the time we are born we learn the “norms” of our society and we then use...
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