Nacirema Response Essay

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E N Sociology 111 Writing Assignment 1 A Response to: Body Rituals among the Nacirema Horace Miner satirizes how cultural bias and ethnocentrism are present in many Americans, as well as American anthropologists, in his paper, “Body Rituals among the Nacirema”. Nacirema, is of course, American spelled backward. A foreign culture, when viewed from the outside, with all of the biases present within us, can look exceedingly strange. This perspective, which is representative of ethnocentrism, is taken in viewing the dominant culture of America in the 1950’s, and the paper still retains its relevance today. Some issues that are brought up in this paper include criticisms of the field of anthropology, perhaps criticisms of the medical field of the 1950’s, and also the need for researchers to examine their own research methodology to minimize bias. Miner was a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he earned a doctorate in anthropology. Throughout his life, Miner was dedicated to his studies ranging in anthropology to sociology. He was very interested in the study of anthropology, but he disagreed with the way that other cultures were represented in mainstream American anthropology. He thought American anthropologists had an ethnocentric view that American culture was "normal" which led to the other studied cultures being misrepresented. The motivation for the Nacirema paper seemed to be to prove that, when a culture is viewed from the outside, that it seems strange. He showed that the American culture could be viewed as unusual when this view is taken. The Nacirema, are a people who live in an area defined as North America, in between a number of native tribes and came from somewhere in the east (Miner, 1956). The focuses of the Nacirema culture are the rituals of the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the
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