Anthropology Analysis of "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" Essay

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The author’s purpose in writing this article was not to show the “Nacirema” as an example of how extreme human behavior can become, but how an outside perspective can affect your perception of an alien culture. If one were to look at the “Nacirema’s” cultural behaviors regarding physical appearance and health without any insight or knowledge of the specific beliefs or values of that culture, they might seem bizarre and even incomprehensible. By showing behaviors and “rituals” performed by this unknown tribe, Miner allowed others to see that the way studies were representing distinctive cultures was narrowminded and defective. Without the proper comprehension of the basis of any society, huge cultural misunderstandings could occur. Of…show more content…
Miner’s article presents numerous anthropological concepts including culture, social behaviors, symbols, material culture and holism. While providing us with a synchronic view of an unexplored culture, Miner tackles the principle mindset that governs the “Nacirema’s” social customs and “rituals”, looks at key symbols and material possessions as the focus of the culture, and highlights the importance of studying a culture in its entirety to gain a full and accurate understanding. The psychology of the “Nacirema” people is one of malcontent. There seems to be a general dissatisfaction with one’s body and this inescapable attitude reaches into almost every aspect of their lives. The psychology of the “Nacirema” people is one of malcontent. There seems to be a general dissatisfaction with one’s body and this inescapable attitude reaches into almost every aspect of their lives. The “Nacirema” seem to necessitate unhappiness and even pain. They voluntarily allow “holy-moth-men” to subject them to torturous practices meant to postpone the inevitable decay of their mouths, pay “herbalists” to provide them with “potions” and “charms” expected to improve their health and consent to “medicine men” poking them with needles and performing life-threatening procedures all in the name of beauty and driven by the fundamental mentality that the body is ugly. Miner uses cultural materialism to explore and explain different

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