Essay about Analyzing Horace Miner 's Body Ritual Among The Body

Essay about Analyzing Horace Miner 's Body Ritual Among The Body

Length: 1085 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The goal of the anthropologist is to come to understand the beliefs and behaviours of the cultures around them, without judgement. When one scrutinizes Western rituals, we often have difficulty seeing the strangeness of our own culture. To understand those around us, we must first be able to understand ourselves. In this paper, I will attempt to critically summarize and analyze Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”.
In “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”, Horace Miner (1956) revisits the rituals of a North American group, the Nacirema, as first described by Professor Linton in the early 1900s. Miner depicts these people as quite vain; obsessive over money, appearance and health. While the economic status of a Nacirema individual is extremely important, nothing compares to the significance of the rituals of the body. These rituals tend to involve various steps that allow the Nacirema people to present themselves to the world in their fittest, most beautiful form. The majority of these rituals are performed by the individual in their own home, in extreme privacy. The body is viewed as a disgusting vessel, in need of constant upkeep to be presentable to others. The Nacirema home contains one or more ‘shrines’, devoted to transforming the body into the definition of health and beauty. The main purpose of the shrine is to hold charms and magical potions, bought from various specialized practitioners. Each member of the house takes a turn within the shrine, every morning, mixing various potions with holy font water and performing their individual absolution ritual. The appearance of the mouth has profound social significance to the Nacirema people. On a daily and bi-yearly basis, the individual takes various precautions to ensu...


... middle of paper ...


...aluate another’s culture? Regardless of my questions and concerns, Miner’s work is a phenomenal showcase of the ethnocentric fallacy, the power of language and the bias it can cause in anthropological works, and the significance of cultural acceptance to this field of study.
In critically summarizing and analyzing Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”, I was able to better understand the significance of avoiding bias and the ethnocentric view in anthropology. The article equips the reader with the tools needed to better understand other cultures, in terms of their own beliefs and rituals. Miner’s original approach does create a certain level of confusion that forces the reader to critically evaluate his purpose. “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner ultimately brings people together, by illuminating the eccentricities present in all cultures.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay The Article ' Body Ritual Among The ' By Horace Miner

- In the article “Body Ritual Among Nacirema” by Horace Miner, the basics of the article mentions how other cultures view American culture as strange. Miner directly makes it feel like the article was written by an outsider. Such as viewing American everyday rituals like brushing one’s teeth and cutting facial hair. Miner also replaces American with Nacirema, which is the reverse spelling of American. Analyzing these practices of Nacirema culture further, this paper shall explain: what practices appear strange to an outsider, how does the article illustrate ethnocentrism and cultural relativity, what problems may occur in accurately observing other cultures and lastly how might others interrup...   [tags: Culture, Cultural relativism, Anthropology, Ritual]

Better Essays
1728 words (4.9 pages)

Horace Miner’s Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Essay

- Horace Miner’s Body Ritual Among the Nacirema 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 actually speaking of Americans as a whole (Miner). Miner uses this style of writing to more effectively prove his point: that Americans are ethnocentric. Miner does an exceptional job in disguising the Nacirema as Americans....   [tags: Horace Miner Body Ritual Among the Nacirema]

Better Essays
580 words (1.7 pages)

Body Rituals Among The Times By Horace Miner Essay

- I’ve been very interested in the Nacireman culture after reading Body Rituals among the Nacirema published by Horace Miner and was very surprised by the lack of information on the people since his original study in 1956. I’ve been working as a cultural anthropologist for a few years now and have always been fascinated with their culture. Recently, one of my colleagues approached me and informed me that he had gained access to the Nacireman people. He knew how interested I was in their culture and gave me the name of a woman who thought would be a great informant....   [tags: Culture, Ritual, Cultural anthropology]

Better Essays
1117 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

- Would you want to live among the Naciremas. Why or why not. After reading Horace Miner’s Body Ritual Among the Nacirema I cannot say that I would want to be part of the tribe. A huge reason would be that I could never go from my own Christian faith to the religious practices of the Nacirema. My second reason for not wanting to be part of the tribe is that I could never be subjected to the horrific medical practices and “magical potions” used on every citizen in the tribe. One of the fundamental beliefs of the Nacirema is that “the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease.” According to the Christian tradition, the human body is fallen and is therefore prone...   [tags: Horace Miner]

Better Essays
821 words (2.3 pages)

Analysis Of The Article ' Body Ritual Among The Veldt ' By Horace Miner Essay

- The author Horace Miner’s article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” is a comment on the vanity that is present in the American culture. He focuses on a North American Group, which he considers Naciremas which is Americans backwards. Horace Miner demonstrates that attitudes or daily rituals have a convincing sway on numerous establishments in Nacirema society. The writer uses many metaphors to describe this vanity including his statement that “women” try to cover up their impurities by applying makeup in addition to getting surgeries and other things to fix what they think is wrong....   [tags: Culture, Anthropology, Cultural relativism]

Better Essays
1627 words (4.6 pages)

Body Rituals Among The Nacrima By Horace Miner Essay

- Reaction Paper One In the paper “Body Rituals Among the Nacrima,” written by Horace Miner, we learn of the unique cultural practices of the Nacrima – a North American group. The group has complicated social institutions, hierarchies and cultural practices much like other societies in the world but the practices of this particular group are unique. However, once the reader critically analyzes the passage, they realize that Miner is actually describing the American culture and he does so from the lens of an outsider and demonstrates how strange societies are to an outsider looking in....   [tags: Sociology, Culture, The Culture, Western culture]

Better Essays
714 words (2 pages)

Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Essay

- Body Ritual Among the Nacirema What is the precise geographical location of this strange tribe, the Nacirema. The Nacirema is a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, though tradition states that they came from the east. What are the private and secret shrines of the Nacirema. In the Nacirema, the belief is that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease....   [tags: Anthropology]

Better Essays
705 words (2 pages)

The Body Ritual of the Nacirema Essay

- The Body Ritual of the Nacirema It is human nature to describe one's own culture as the most advanced and most intellectual. Unfortunately, it is also common practice to look down upon the practices of another culture because they are not similar to one's own traditions. The ability to do this can sometimes be a damaging characteristic for society as a whole. Horace Miner realized the implications of egocentric views and wrote a groundbreaking essay to open society's eyes to their biases....   [tags: Horace Miner Egocentrism Essays]

Better Essays
607 words (1.7 pages)

Ritual Project : La Boda, Mexican Wedding Essay

- Ritual Project: “La Boda,” a Mexican Wedding Introduction Rite of passage marks a time when a person experiences a new and important change in his or her life. It is a significant transition from one status to another that in many cases societies support their members to change pattern behaviors. In many cultures; for example, these rites of passage occur when the youth enter adulthood, or some others enter to college, or maybe to the university. Mexico is not an exception of these rites of passage....   [tags: Wedding, Marriage, White wedding, Ritual]

Better Essays
1261 words (3.6 pages)

Body Rituals Of The Black By Horace Miner Essay

- In Body Rituals of the Nacirema, Horace Miner demonstrates through his study of the North American tribe Nacirema that “attitudes about the body” have a significant influence of human behavior within the people and can give a glimpse into some of the most extreme behaviours humans can reach. He argues that the beliefs and practices of the Nacirema, which have a sort of magical connotation, are so bizarre that members assume an extreme in human behavior is very easily within their community. The Nacirema, a North American tribe of people whose origins are ambiguously tracked to some place within the continent, are a people who practice rituals incessantly on the basis of the human body, perce...   [tags: Culture, Anthropology, Sociology]

Better Essays
1375 words (3.9 pages)