Topic: PsychologyBehavior

Last updated: May 2, 2019

In Horace Miner’s article “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”, he talks about a tribe and describes their odd behavior. He tells about how the tribe performs these strange daily rituals and how their peculiarity is extreme but in fact, he is speaking of Americans as a whole. Miner does a great job in portraying/disguising the Nacirema as Americans. Some of the things he disguises are the bathroom which he says is a cleansing shrine, the medicine chest which he disguises as the main device in the shrine, a bundle of hog hairs on a stick as a toothbrush and so on. Miner additionally mentions things that make it significantly more subtle that the Nacirema are American like stating the location where America is found. He talks about very expensive gifts you should give before entering and leaving a latipso, and also how you get tormented there and keep on going. He also talks about how the dentist practices his work with an extremely complex use of words.

The Article relates to many aspects of sociology including cultural relativism and ethnocentrism. He is describing Cultural Relativism in the sense that Americans solely rely on their appearance to live their day to day lives. I feel like the purpose of the article is to have Americans read this, and then after reading it, have an opinion of the Nacirema that is of a lower standard than our culture, then after realizing that they were actually judging themselves be disgusted. Therefore, once again, Miner is proving that we, as Americans are ethnocentric.

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He was hoping to have us see that Americans have many cultural beliefs or practices that some people might find ridiculous.


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