Essay on Body Ritual Among The Globe By Horace Miner

947 Words Jan 25th, 2015 4 Pages
Upon reading the anthropologist Horace Miner’s satirical article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”, one cannot help but be struck with the tone of derision affected by the author. It is impossible to contend with the work without addressing this, for this tone is very much the point. In deciding to impart the necessity of viewing other cultures from a prism devoid of ethnocentrism, Miner reveals much about the ways in which we, as a society, view ourselves. This should be viewed as the primary impetus for Miner’s article, because the danger in ethnocentrism is the tendency to engage in myopic viewpoints that serve to divide society (Schaefer, 2011). In his emphasis upon the fact that westerners often put themselves through much trial in order to stave off disease and death, his writing style declaims the need to analyze ourselves, lest we fail to understand the world at large.
The context of Miner’s article can be best understood by considering the retrograde attitudes of the time. “Body Ritual” was published in 1956, just two years after Brown v. Board of Education, at a time when there was much debate over what certain attitudes regarding racial, cultural, and ethnic superiority were doing to this country, socially, spiritually, and economically. While it must be said that there has always been a somewhat progressive bent in academia, one would have struggled to find it within the social sciences. Indeed, only with the cultural revolution of the late 1960s and the rise of…

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