Horace Miner: Body Ritual Among The Nacirema Essay


Body Ritual Among The Nacirema EssayToday our academic English editing service decided to introduce you the new and very interesting term. I am not sure that everybody when hears the word “nacirema” know what is talking about. This term appeared recently in American language and is considered to be a neologism. The meaning of this word is rather funny and simple – just try to read it backward and you will receive “American”. This term is now popular in anthropology and sociology when somebody wants to talk about the American people’s society or behavior. Firstly this term was used in the article by Horace Miner called in the same way – Body ritual among the nacirema essay. About this story and its author we are going to talk today.

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From the very beginning we are going to talk about the other of the essay, will discuss the main facts from his biography, later we will talk about the essay itself.

Horace Miner. Biography

Horace Miner was born in Minnesota. He was an anthropologist and well-educated person. Horace was interested in agriculture lot of time in his life he spent on studying. The scientist graduated from the Kentucky University, at Chicago University he received the Doctor degree, and he also studied in Columbia. During the Second World War Miner worked as an agent. He lived in Japan and Italy. Later the scientist worked in Africa. His life was rich and interesting. During his work and practice he learned a lot of things, so decided to write some scientific works. These were his books “Culture and Agriculture”, “City in Modern Africa” and the “Body ritual among the nacirema”. He also received a set of awards for the results of his scientific works.

Body ritual among the nacirema

This essay is a great satire on the American culture. It is very interesting and useful for those, who are fond of anthropology.  The main purpose of the essay was to describe some rituals in the USA from the point of view of outsider.  Any culture consists if the rituals and those rituals determine this cultural. They play a great role in the people’s being. Social solidarity includes these rituals and values. Horace Miner was sure that rituals are the part of society, and the sociology science has to learn them.

Every culture or society has its own model of perception of the world. The author suggests an example, that in Spain the main concept is based on the courage, in Japan – face, in New Guinea – pollution by female, and in Nacirema culture – the body attitudes. The author considered that if some customs are not similar to the others, then they are worth talking about. In the essay Horace Miner wrote about unpopular tribe, which situated somewhere in the North America. The author comments that the described group is very similar to Americans in the 1950s. We are talking about the well-developed and successful tribe. They had a successful market economy. 

From ancient times the human body considered to be ugly and succumb to various diseases. That’s why people used some rituals to prevent their bodies (in other words health and live). Every family had a special sanctuary in houses, where they made the sacred rites. It is important to know, that the rituals they made were not well-known, they were kept in secret for the time the children grow up. Horace Miner affirmed that he visited this tribe, became a good friend for those people. The people of the tribe trusted him, that’s why they shared their innermost secrets. And the essay is about these secret rituals.

Using this essay during the educational process

Body ritual among the nacirema is not useful for only great scientists. Some teachers prefer to start the learning the subject of anthropology with their students just by reading this essay. In this essay everybody can read and understand the main ideas of human similarity and also the main differences between the nations. There are also some videos on YouTube about the nacirema. And it is very important to make presentations, which will help students to understand better. Nacirema by Horace Miner was written in a little bit satirical way, we cannot take everything seriously. But the information in this essay is really unusual and even from a certain point of view – unacceptable. Sometimes it is difficult to understand and realize everything you read.

The text is full of backwards words. To make the understanding more clear and easy follow this advice. Before starting to read the essay, you should to read the special key, which will help you to understand the sense. In the text you can meet, for example, Notgnishaw (Washington) or such words as:

1) herbalist (pharmacist);

2) Holy Mouth Man (dentist);

3) the latipsoh (hospital);

4) the listener (psychologist).

And this list we can continue and continue. In an unusual way he describes the hairdresser, toothbrush and toothpaste or thermometer. I think that to give the usual things such a funny names and descriptions can the man with a perfect imagination. To tell the truth, it is rather interesting to read the full version of this essay. It doesn’t take you a lot of time, so the reading is really will be very useful for you. Maybe you will learn something new for you. So, take some time for it, as we should be interested in our history and traditions. It is not like agricultural revolution essays, it is something more and new.