Body Rituals Among the Nacirema

Topics: Sociology, Anthropology, Culture Pages: 4 (1097 words) Published: February 13, 2014
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 free encyclopedia", n.d) In June of 1956, he released an article that he had written called, “Body Rituals Among the Nacirema” in the American Anthropologist (vol 58, pp 503-507) Miner writes so cleverly as he explores the culture that of the Nacirema people. While using this ethnography method he was able to live amongst this sub-group so he could explore this culture intimately and capture “social meanings and ordinary activities” ("Ethnography- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", n.d.) While Miner observed this culture, it allowed us to peer inside the daily behaviors and shocking rituals of the Nacirema. Who were the Nacirema? Why were they so barbaric and primal? After reading the article, I was left speechless and couldn’t believe that anyone in a civilized environment would choose to live this way. Then it had dawned on me, this was a lesson to the American people on ethnocentrism. ("Ethnocentrism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", n.d.) We have become so set in our own ways and standards that we use our own daily rituals to judge and to discriminate the cultures belonging to other people. We reference our own behaviors to default those of other cultures and backgrounds. I had to go back through Miner’s article and read it again. Thus, it made perfect sense! He was speaking of the rituals that of the American people. Changing the wording that depicts the daily bodily rituals of American people in such an exaggerated way, the lesson is learned. We have just as many...

References: Horace Mitchell Miner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Mitchell_Miner
Body Ritual among the Nacirema. (2013, February 1). In Wikisource, . Retrieved October 16, 2013, from
Ethnography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnography
Brewer, John D. (2000). Ethnography. Philadelphia: Open University Press. p.10.
Ethnocentrism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2013,
Participant observation. (1995). Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://wps.pearsoned.co.uk/ema_uk_he_plummer_sociology_3/40/10342/2647687.cw/content/
Bryant, L. (2000). Participant Observation. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/participant_observation.htm
Structural functionalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_functionalism#Theory
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