Horace Miner’s Understanding of Nacirema

Updated December 27, 2021

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Horace Miner’s Understanding of Nacirema essay

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Horace 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 also provides a viewpoint understanding 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 do bizarre rituals every day and how their distinguishing characteristics are 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.

Miner gives a couple of hints suggesting that the Nacirema are actually Americans. When Nacirema is spelled backwards it spells American that is a major hint. Another hint is the “holy-mouth-men.” If you sit down and really think about it for a second he is talking about dentists.

I believe Miner did well in hiding the fact the Nacirema are actually Americans. Examples of some of the things he disguises are the bathroom, which he calls a 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 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 we were to look at the “Nacirema’s” cultural behaviors involving physical looks and fitness without knowledge of the exact beliefs or values of that culture, they would possibly seem incomprehensible and weird. By displaying the “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.

Horace Miner’s Understanding of Nacirema essay

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Horace Miner’s Understanding of Nacirema. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/horace-miners-understanding-of-nacirema/


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