Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Paper Example

Paper Type:  Questions & Answers
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  840 Words
Date:  2022-08-08

Would you like to live with the Nacirema? In a paragraph, explain why or why not?

After reading the article by Horace Miners about the body ritual among the nacirema. I can confidently say that I would not want to live with the nacirema this is due to various reasons that include; first, I could not deviate from my Christian belief and adopt nacirema's religious practices that involves the use of magical beliefs. Secondly, I would not live with the tribe because I cannot accept to be subjected to the dangerous medical practices such as the magical portions that are used by every individual in the tribe to improve the body's condition.

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Using the book as a reference, in your own words explain cultural relativism and ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism refers to the act of using your culture as the main subject and using it to evaluate the cultures of other communities. For example, in this case, I am using my own culture to assess the culture of the nacirema community, which seem to be very different. (Steger, 2009). The nacirema's tend to use magical portion to improve their bodies, which is not acceptable in my culture. While cultural relativism refers to the act of not actively judging other cultures according to our own culture, instead we should try to accept every community cultural practices.

Consider your reaction to the Nacirema. Did you view this culture through a lens of cultural relativism or ethnocentrism? Why?

As per my reaction to nacirema, I tend to view their culture through the lens of ethnocentrism. This is because I am using my own culture to asses that of nacirema community, by mainly judging their religion and practices.

Why do some of the practices and rituals of other cultures seem odd or foreign to us?

The rituals and practices of other cultures seem different to us because anything that deviates from what we have initially been exposed to tend to be odd until someone gets used to it. At first, we may view things according to our cultural standard until the cultural differences are explained to us. If we sincerely believe in a particular way and consider the other approaches are typically wrong, it becomes difficult to accept the cultural differences.

How do our cultural norms affect our understanding and perception of other cultures?

Our norms affect our perception and understanding of other cultures since they tend to hinder our view or either right or wrong. For example, what seems socially acceptable to me is not acceptable to the nacirema culture. We tend to project a view of normal to other cultures whose view of normal is not in line with ours.

Provide on an example of something we do in the U.S. the Nacirema or another culture might find odd

The people of the United States are involved in various things that the nacirema find to be odd, for example, the Americans tend to have a specific cabinet filled with medication to treat their illness, and they take the medication either once or twice a day. Despite having medication, they regularly visit the hospitals to seek treatment for their disease. This practice of taking medication and visiting the hospitals for treatment is odd to the nacirema culture.

Based on what you read in chapter 3 (Ferrante) explain in your own words the term Cultural Anchors

According to chapter, three of the article cultural anchors refer to the things of material or non-material culture that draws out the wide agreement and support amongst a widespread membership.

What are some cultural anchors for the Nacirema?

The key nacirema cultural anchor is the body ritual, they tend to consider the human body as ugly and sick, and therefore the cultures rituals revolve around the issue of the body (Miner, 1956). For example, every household has a shrine that is dedicated towards the body purification. Also, the medicine men have a special; medicine which they use to purify the human body.

What are some cultural anchors in the U.S.?

The United States cultural anchor is that Washington was the founder of the nation. They believe that he is the one who formed the government and introduced the rule of the land that is present until today.

Are there any cultural anchors, the Nacirema, and the U.S. share?

The nacirema and the United States tend to share particular cultural anchors, for example, the bathroom behavior. For the naciremas, every family has a shrine, and the rituals conducted in those shrines are not family ceremonies instead they are private and secret. The shrine rituals are only freely discussed with the young children when they are being introduced to these mysteries. While in the United States, a bathroom is a shrine where the things that one does are secret and private, and the children come to know the mysterious process once they are trained to bath themselves.


Miner, H. (1956). Body Ritual among the Nacirema. American anthropologist, 58(3), 503-507.

Steger, M. (2009). Global culture: Sameness or difference. Globalizafion: The transformafion of social worlds, 147-150.

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