Body Ritual Among Nacirema Analysis

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In “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” Horace Miner argues how "attitudes toward the body" persistently effects several organisations among Nacirema culture. Basically, he described American’s ritual in his article from point of view of an outsider. According to Anthropology lectures by Dr David Murray “ritual” refers to “A set of activities or actions consistently performed by people”. Furthermore, rituals are every day routines such as going to mosque or church, following a certain diet, behaving in a particular way, and so forth. Types of behaviors and practices may be similar among a group of people but not between all others. Similar rituals bring together like-minded people who share believes, morals, and social roles. As these shared habits …show more content…
As discussed in Anthropology lectures by Dr David Murray, assessment of opinions of others based on perceptions coining from one’s own standards and customs is ethnocentrism. Based on this way of thinking, individuals assess other groups relative to their own specific ethnicity or cultural beliefs, specifically with regard to activities, traditions, language and religion. To further illustrate this concept, the following quote has come form Minor’s master piece Body Rituals Among Nacirema in which Malinowski explicitly places Westernized cultures in a superiority compare to other societies ; "Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of …show more content…
Since everyone knows his own cultural values presumably, he compares other diverse believes to his, inevitably. The false comparison of distinct traditions and customs promotes. Miner glorifies the critical need in studying other cultures which is acquiring a full and comprehensive knowledge of culture, believes and values of people being studied. In the Body Rituals of Necirema, Miner exaggerates American rituals and uses some new and reverse English words to represent American cultural as a novel and unusual sets of beliefs to its users. In doing so, he illustrates how lack of understanding about a particular culture and the importance of its rituals foster ethnocentrism. Nacirema people, as Minor describe, perform a “brief rite of ablution” by lowering their heads and faces to the “font” or the sink, and wash their faces using the “Holy water” by which he means clean tap-water. Another Nacirema ritual is the use of a “bundle of hog hairs in the mouth” or brushing teeth and going to the dentist which is portrayed as the “Private mouth rite(s)” and the “Holy-mouth-man”, respectively.In addition, Minor illustrate trimming and shaving as an extremely hurtful and cruel ritual to demonstrate a simple possible ethnocentric inference due to lack of knowledge about a certain

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