Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

Good Essays
January 26, 2013

Horace Minor applied satire in his article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.” to the culture of the American people. Several ways in which “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” relate to the core concepts of sociology are through the use of sociological imagination, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. The American culture is described by Minor in a very unique and humorous way. The author uses satire to examine the rituals that are every day in American culture. The reader thinks at the beginning of the article that they are reading about some uncivilized tribe of people but soon realized that the “rituals” that are being performed are just everyday events that take place in every American household.
Miner describes the tribe as a North American group living in the territory between the “Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles.” He goes on to say that their nation was founded by a cultural hero, Notgnihsaw, who is mainly known for two great feats of strength; the throwing of a piece of “wampum” across the river Pa-To-Mac and the chopping down of a cherry tree in which the “Spirit of Truth” resided” (Minor, 1956) Almost everyone in America knows the story about George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. This is when the intentions of the author’s work are realized. The name of the tribe, “Nacirema” is actually “American” spelled backwards, and “Notgnishaw” who cut down the cherry tree is “Washington” spelled backwards.
Minor uses qualitative research methodology in his observations of the rituals of the Nacirema (American) tribe and uses language to describe seemingly bizarre observations. His observations described the economical pursuits of the people and obsession with bodily appearances, as well as the rituals involved to attain these personal and aesthetic goals. Minor refers to the bathrooms as shrines “while each family has at least one such shrine, the rituals associated with



Cited: Minor, H. (1956). Body Ritual among the Nacirema. American Anthropologist, 58(3), 503-507. doi:10.1525/aa.1956.58.3.02a0008

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    Body Ritual among the Nacirema Name Course Sociology Date 6/12/2013 Body Ritual among the Nacirema Horace Miner in the article, Body Ritual Among the Nacirema depicts a society that is growing naturally, but which has transformed itself into a ritual tribe. In this article, the tribe, Nacirema, is a tribe that has transformed itself naturally and which has incorporated a lot of beliefs and religious tendency for…

    • 1031 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    #1 Summary of Miner’s “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” Abstract This paper is a summary of Horace Miner’s paper “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”. It talks about how every culture has a set of rituals they practice religiously, and in particular, the unusual rituals and beliefs of the Nacirema people from an outsider’s perspective. Amanda Carson Sociology 111 Writing Assignment #1 January 25, 2015 Summary of Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual among the Nacirema Every society, tribe…

    • 657 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Body Ritual among the Nacirema Kelsey White Ivy Tech Community College Abstract Horace Miner wants his readers to learn the value of what a real culture should be and how Americans today are really like. In his article, Body Ritual among the Nacirema, Miner writes about a cultural tribe that has strange rituals and values that would seem unethical to anybody else. He describes how important culture is to them and portrays that Americans think their culture is so…

    • 1201 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Nacirema are a society obsessed with the presservation and maintenance of their bodies. They have many body rituals, some thats are conducted in private, others that require the assistance of certain knowlegable medicine men. After reading about this tribe I was shocked at how much they focused on their appearance. "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" was actually written about Americans. Horace Miner chose not to directly reveal this, in order to demonstrate people' ethnocentric tendencies. From…

    • 310 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Body Rituals Among the Nacirema Abstract This study examines Horace Miner’s essay “Body Rituals Among the Nacirema. While using the participant observation approach, he gives us a new perspective on the daily behaviors within this group of people. Exploring ethnocentrism and how we view cultures outside of our own. Horace Miner was a professor for the University of Michigan. He sought out to teach young people the importance of cultural anthropology. ("Horace Mitchell Miner - Wikipedia, the…

    • 1097 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Professor Emma Linton of the Martian Institute of Interplanetary Cultural Anthropology might have come up with her unexpected conclusions regarding to the body rituals of the Nacirema people. Linton's report was wildly inaccurate written due to the facts that she does not have any qualitative previous knowledge about the culture and she like to draw a comparison between cultures. She did not follow all the methodological process an anthropologist should follow, and a long term of studying of the…

    • 597 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” In Horace Miner’s essay on the tribe of Nacirema, it takes little effort to determine that Nacirema is a depiction of a typical American’s health habits. This essay is important for two reasons: It teaches principles about our own culture and it makes us assess the value/downfall of looking at other cultures with an etic approach. Without a doubt, this essay personalizes the study of cultures and its respective peoples. Regarding the view of North American…

    • 525 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The article “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner, was very interesting because it mocks our society as a whole without blatantly stating the similarities. The reader is supposed to view the Nacirema as being quite outrageous in their way of life; the magical beliefs and superstitions. However, if you step back and look at the bigger picture of the article, is the Nacirema really any different from us? This statement, “The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and…

    • 684 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Body Ritual Among the Nacirema, the writer writes about the extreme rituals that people hold in America. It brings out the idea that what they are doing is only to improve the looks which are actually unnecessary. Although the writer does not use the word America at all, we can tell from the content and the examples that it is reflecting the Americans. Actually, if the word “Nacirema” in the title reverses, it is America. He uses some events that may be trivial and happen in our every day lives…

    • 347 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “Body Rituals Among the Nacirema, “ by Horace Miner, is an essay written about the Nacirema, or American people, from an outsider’s perspective. Miner gives an insight on the Nacireman people, which he describes in his essay as an unknown tribe, and the completing of the Nacireman’s magical beliefs and practices, which involve daily, involuntary body rituals that cause much pain and discomfort. Miner shows how an outsider’s perspective can affect the way a culture is seen. In his essay, Miner uses…

    • 911 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays