top-rated free essay

Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

By gpn Feb 20, 2014 859 Words


Body Ritual Among the Nacirema
Edward Hamilton

Sociology
Professor
January 15, 2014
The “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner, is an article that examines the various rituals that manifests within industrialized societies, specifically referencing to the United States. In the article Miner joked about the invasion of privacy and the obsession of becoming immortal. Miner provides gives outstanding evidence that the characteristics or an attitude of the human body has a broad influence on a variety of institutions in the Nacirema society. Throughout the article Miner provides an understanding perspective how Americans do similar rituals in a different point of view. One key word that was emphasized in the article that numerous times was “ritual” and how it transformed the way we lives. It clearly mentions how our society perceives that idea and whether we act positively or negatively to it. Miner implements a wonderful inscription on the readers thought as how other societies may view our own. After reading the article, I agree with many ideas Miner made about society because of country does use exaggerated body image and misuse the idea of preventive medicine.

The natural tendency of the human body and mind has always sparked a great debate. For example, were humans born with good or a bad intention is an ongoing debate. Remarkably, these beliefs are also reflected within a society or cultures even today. A group called Nacirema, located in North America, believed that the human body is ugly and is prone to “natural tendency” which was debility and disease. Following this “natural tendency”, the “holy mouth man” used magical instruments and drilled them into the holes of cavities created by tooth decay. Although this practice was believed to cure the problem it only intensified the infection in the tooth. Also there was a medicine man that treated sick patients which ultimately leaves them in a state where they can never be cured. These practices were performed in Nacirema, which showed their faith towards the natural law of humans. In contrast to the Nacriema’s culture, our modern society has somewhat of different approach to this “natural tendency”. In general, it is inevitably that all humans will age which means they are more susceptible to becoming ill. Thus, the “natural tendency” in our modern society does not differ much from the Nacirema culture. Yet, our modern society seems to disapprove the natural tendency. People try to look more youthful by applying cosmetics, treat diseases and vaccines shots regularly. In today’s society the rituals of the Nacirema may seem cruel and inhumane. However the Nacriema culture can be characterized as following the natural tendency, which is the law of the universe. Therefore, based on the analysis of the two distinct perspectives toward our approach to nature, it can be known that cultural relativism is needed when looking at different cultures.

Miner’s ironic article, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” is an entertaining social commentary can be argued to be ethnocentric. Miner knowingly chooses the American culture because of their cultural practices (the use of cosmetics and hygiene products). One would expect to hear the practice of our society is technologically primitive and tribal. Miner evokes this approach of thinking to the reader by attempting to unwittingly use our cultural preconceptions against our own customs. Ultimately I believe Miner achieved his goal to force readers to believe that concept. Similarly to every other culture, Americans have plenty of taboo practices that when viewed objectively they appear very illogical and in some cases ridiculous. Upon reaching his revelation, Miner says, “we should view the traditions of other cultures with an improved understanding.” However, I think it would be foolish to believe that we can ever completely eliminate ourselves of all cultural biases or ethnocentricity. Each individual will always view life at his or her own viewpoint. Perhaps this is what Miner was trying convey to us. Maybe he wanted us to view our culture and determine how we would be viewed in other cultures. The idea does spark great debate for those who conduct intellectual or scientific research. Nonetheless, they are in theory accountable to present their own findings without injecting their own opinions, but conversely this an absolutely unrealistic expectation. Try as they may, as I mentioned earlier; people will see things differently through there own eyes and any beliefs that accompanies their idea.

In conclusion, I felt a bit saddened while reading, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” because there are a lot of people who stress so hard on appearance, rather than living life as humble and optimistically as possible. In fact, the whole article made the United States seem a bit sickening morally. If I could pretend that Nacirema was a culture outside of our country, I would never visit that country because of the harsh critics and judgments I would have to endure constantly. Frivolous judgments like how you look, the way you dress and how much wealth you generate. Overall I’ve learned a lot and I didn’t know anything about the Nacirema definitely an article everyone should read.

Works Cited
Miner, Horace. Body Ritual among the Nacirema. June 1956. 14 January 2014 .

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

    ...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 cultur...

    Read More
  • Body Ritual among the Nacirema

    ... Global Village Activity I could only imagine how Horace Miner felt when entering the Nacirema village. At first glance he must have had culture shock when learning about the daily mouth cleansing and the temples where some enter and never return. I came to realize that western cultures sha...

    Read More
  • Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

    ...Body Ritual among the Nacirema Kim Wilson Ivy Tech Community College This article written by, Horace Miner, was my first read in where I was shocked to discover such barbaric rituals from other areas of life. I took the time to re-read this article several times. I have learned of many different cultures in where people do things tha...

    Read More
  • Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

    ...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 big...

    Read More
  • Body Ritual among the Nacirema

    ...Assignment #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 outsid...

    Read More
  • Body Ritual among the Nacirema

    ...Brooklin Jefferies Body Ritual among the Nacirema In the Article, “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” anthropologist Horace Miner talks about a group of people known as Nacirema, or better yet, Americans. This article was to show how American’s are very ethnocentric. This is when we think our cultures are superior and everyone else is ...

    Read More
  • Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

    ...Miner’s Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Elizabeth Brower Introduction to Sociology Matthew Howell January 25, 2015 Abstract: Horace Miner’s point throughout the entire article of “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” was to prove to us, Americans, that we are not superior to anyone else or any other culture, society, or religion. We are ...

    Read More
  • Body Rituals Among the Nacirema

    ...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 p...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.