“Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner

Updated December 27, 2021

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“Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner essay

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There are various hints Horace Miner’s article “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” referring to the United States. In the article Miner presents evidence that the attitude towards the human body has a considerable impact on a variety of institutions in the Nacirema society. Throughout his article Miner provides an understanding viewpoint on how Americans do similar rituals in a unique point of view. One key word that he used often throughout the article on numerous occasions was the word “ritual” and how it changed the way we live.

It actually mentions how our society perceives that Thought and whether we respond positively or negatively to it. Miner givers the readers descriptions so that we could have an idea on how other societies may view their own. After reading the article multiple times to understand, in the end I agree with Miners ideas about society because our country does use exaggerated body images and misuse the thought of preventive medicine. Also in his article as he refers to and describe a tribe and their unusual behavior. He explains how the tribe performs bizarre every day rituals and how their peculiarity is extreme, however in truth he is really talking about Americans as a whole(Miner, 1956).

Miner makes use of this writing style to support his point that Americans are ethnocentric.  In this article, Miner gives a few suggestions that the Nacirema are in reality Americans. The fact that Nacirema spelled backwards is American is a hint by itself. Another clue is the “holy-mouth-men.” If you sit down and really think about it for a second he is talking about dentists. I Think Miner did a good job in disguising the Nacirema as Americans. Examples of some of the things he disguises are the bathroom, which he says is a cleansing shrine. He disguises the medicine chest as the main device in the shrine, a bundle of hog hairs on a stick as a toothbrush, and magical potions as remedy (Miner, 1956).

I think that Horace Miner’s two cause in writing this article was not to show the “Nacirema” as a representation of how intense human behavior can become, however how an outside point of view can have an effect on your understanding of an alien culture. If one were to seem to be at the “Nacirema’s” cultural behaviors concerning physical look and fitness without any insight or knowledge of the precise beliefs or values of that culture, they would possibly seem weird and even incomprehensible. By displaying behaviors and “rituals” carried out by way of this unknown tribe, Miner allowed others to see that the way studies were representing unique cultures.

Without the proper understanding of the foundation of any society, large cultural misunderstandings could occur. I believe Norms are essential to society due to the fact that they provide guidelines on how to behave in various situations. Social norms assist in creating order in society by allowing people to recognize the normal behaviors in their culture.

Studying the physical components of a culture gives us a better understanding and appreciation for the complex lives of the people who interacted with those objects. Material culture provides us insight into non-material culture, which includes the ideas, beliefs, habits, and values of a people. Non-material culture is important because it is our knowledge,beliefs, arts, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities.

“Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner essay

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“Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/body-ritual-among-the-nacirema-by-horace-miner/


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