Horace Miners article Body Ritual among the Nacirema offers great insight into the relevance of Anthropology to modern society by way of satire. The article characterizes the Nacirema people of North America, “discovered” by Miner, and their perceived obsession with the human body. The author claimed to analyze rites and rituals among the Nacirema people. Upon realizing that the word Nacirema read backwards is American, it was easy to deduct that the article was in fact an elaborate description of American oral hygiene as well as a crude sketch of hospital and psychiatric care in our society. Miner detailed their rites and rituals from a purposely ethnocentric point of view which also served the purpose of describing American culture from the point of view of an extreme outsider.
“Body Ritual among the Nacirema” and the core concepts of sociology. The article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” relates to the core concepts of sociology in many ways. Horace Miner does a wonderful job of describing the American culture in a unique way. Although the article describes many aspects of American life, it is written to influence the reader into thinking that they are reading about an uncivilized tribe of people who either existed a long time ago, or still exist today. This article hides many of the core terms that relate to sociology including sociological imagination and ethnocentrism.
In this short essay I will define institutional racism, its history in American and who it mostly affects. Institutional racism also known as institutional oppression refers to racism perpetrated by government entities, major cooperation’s, schools, the courts or the military (Moore 2008). Unlike the racism perpetrated by individuals, institutional racism has the power to negatively affect the bulk of people belonging to a minority group. This form of racism still persists in America because dominant groups are unwilling to share or give up the benefits inherited from past generations. Through numerous examples, Institutional Racism demonstrates how inequality and racial exclusion are embedded within the fabric of American society.
To understand a cultures norm, you must first understand why they do the things that they do. In “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”, Miner writes about the extreme rituals that people do in America. It brings out the idea that what they are doing is only to improve the looks which are actually unnecessary. Although the writer does not use the word America at all, we can tell from the content and the examples that it is reflecting the Americans. Actually, if the word “Nacirema” in the title reverses, it is America.
Satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. Horace Miner was an anthropologist who, in 1956, wrote Body Ritual among the Nacirema. The article satirizes American culture through an anthropological perspective but also plays as a critique of Western arrogance in anthropology and society itself when it comes to viewing non-Western societies. With this, the article’s language overstates the exoticness of the Nacirema by highlighting the tendency to too quickly attribute or explain unfamiliar practices as religious or supernatural rites and parodies the expectation of “otherness” in anthropological thought by writing the study as if through a subjective perspective which anticipates difference in other cultures without truly understanding why. When it comes to writing a study of another culture, the language used can sometimes highlight whether or not you truly understand the culture being studied.
Aisha Reed Professor Navarette Sociology 10, 11 February 2013 Nacirema is American It is very difficult to think outside the box and let go of one’s cultural norms. It is very easy to point the finger in disgust and fall victim of ethnocentrism when it comes to an unfamiliar culture. The article Body Ritual among the Nacirema, by Horace Miner, brings to light a group of North American people, named Nacirema, that culture includes the obsession over rituals that are done to the human body. These rituals might seem different but try and take a culturally relative perspective and ask yourself, “Why?” Nacirema’s culture is highly developed and they are extremely committed to reaching economic goals. A substantial amount of money and time are spent on ritual deeds that are suppose to improve the appearance and health of the body.
The article is written about the body ritual of the Nacirema. The author, Horace Miner, explains the role that culture plays in the development of stereotypes and prejudices. The author also focuses on seeing one’s culture through a different perspective. Miner begins with addressing how anthropologists are no longer surprised by people’s behavior because of the familiarity with diversity. The author then makes a point about how some exotic customs are yet to be discovered.
Sociology 9/13/13 My Analysis of “Body Ritual Among The Nacirema” Horace Miner writes about the bizarre tribal practices of the Nacirema in “Body Ritual Among The Nacirema.” While reading through his report it becomes ever more aware that he is inadvertently speaking abut the American people. Nacirema is American spelled backwards. Miner takes things we do in our every day lives that are accepted by society, and turns them around and calls the rituals. These rituals are talked about in such a way that makes the reader think the Nacirema people are crazy, almost making the foreigners seam animalistic. When in real life they were doing things such as going to the doctor and getting there teeth cleaned.
Harold Ruiz Professor Milton Great Books I March 25, 2013 The Negro’s Place in Nature Even now in today’s society, sadly, we’re still having debates about whether or not all the different races around the world should fall into the category of human species. The word “race” is only just a perception we humans use to identify ourselves because of some our physical differences. On “The Negro’s Place in Nature” by Dr. James Hunt, he and other scientists argue, with their bias scientific approach, whether the “Negro” should be considered human like the European, or a separate species nearer to the ape. Dr. Hunt presents so-called “factual” claims from other scientist, in whom he agrees with, that “the Negro race in some of its characters is the lowest of existing races” [page 6]. As stated earlier, the meaning of the word “race” is merely the categorization of different populations, on earth, among humans.
Concrete Responses The essays included present a compelling but biased study within the context of class, race and gender. History shows racism has been clearly practiced in the past; however much has been done to correct the unbridgeable and immutable differences in race, gender and class status in the United States. Rothenberg emphasizes, in the collection of essays, past views of Euro-Americans’ superiority in intelligence and abilities over darker skinned races. Throughout the history of the United States, discrimination against race and gender has been documented thus creating various classes according to race and gender. Racism has been defined as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2010).