Summary of Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Essay

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“Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” Summary In the essay “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”, anthropologist Horace Miner depicts a group of people known as the “Nacirema”, but is referring to Americans, whose cultural beliefs are deeply rooted in the perspective that the human body is prune to sickness and disfiguration. Consequently, a substantial part of their lives is spent on unusual rituals and customs to improve conditions of the body that are filled with magical components. Moreover, Miner uses the Nacirema’s unusual culture to establish his view that we simply could not judge another culture that it is different from our own, as opposed to another anthropologist Malinowski’s point that we can judge another culture since we are…show more content…
These practices seem redundant and superstitious when seen from an outside culture, but not so much within the culture, since our social norm defines beautiful white teeth an extremely attractive and desirable asset. Moreover, the fear of cavity that is learnt from an early age also motivates Americans to devote to this scrupulous daily “ritual”. By examining these aspects, it becomes clear that an outside culture cannot understand why Americans go to great length of pain and financial loss to obtain nicer teeth. Furthermore, the Nacirema seek help of the “temple” or “latipso” for other serious illnesses, comprised mainly of medicine men and other female specialists. The culture’s devotion to rituals is undeniable as a considerable sum is required for the service of the “temple,” although “these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men” (173). This belief of the “temple” constitutes checking in to the hospital to treat diseases in the American culture. Often times a significant hospital fee needs to be paid for even a short visit and it is not guaranteed that one would be healed as a result. The American culture’s “ fundamental belief…human body is ugly and its natural tendency is to debility and disease” can help explain the society’s faith in hospitals

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