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Running head: RITES OF PASSAGE1Etic and Emic Perspective: Rites of PassageMelissa KistlerANT 101: Introduction to AnthropologyKeely WalkerJuly 7, 2017
RITES OF PASSAGE2Cultural relativism is the understanding of other cultures in their own terms. Toachieve the understanding of the rituals used in the cultures of another, one must be able tolook at them from an emic (insider) perspective. One must also be able to look at his ownculture from an etic (outsider) perspective. The ability to look at one’s culture from the eticpoint of view will make it easier to explain the rituals to someone from a different culture,for example, rites of passage. Rites of passage are used to mark a life stage and arecelebrated by tradition or religion, meant to separate a specific group. These differ in everyculture and some may even appear brutal or abusive to many outsiders, an example wouldbe a Maasai warrior must kill a lion single handedly, tattoos and mutilation after a certainmilestone in age. The ones that are more familiar to all would include the courtship,wedding or funeral. According to our text, “ceremonies such as christening, puberty rituals,marriage and funerals, which we hold whenever a member of society undergoes animportant change status, within the lifecycle of the group, are considered rites of passage.”(Crapo, 2013 para. 2) These are an important part of tradition that often symbolizes atransition from childhood to adulthood and they often give off a sense of manhood to thefamily and community. This paper will dig into the rites of passage, marriage in theAmerican culture, from the etic perspective as well as the Japanese culture regarding deathand the afterlife from the emic perspective.Part One:In this section, I will examine the rite of passage, marriage, in the Americanculture from the etic perspective. For one to be able to describe their culture from the etic pointof view, one must forget all the knowledge and experience they have but also, they must leaveout all opinions. In the article,Body Ritual among the Nacirema,by Miner, 1959, it is difficult to
RITES OF PASSAGE3understand which culture he is talking about and who the Nacirema really are. This is since this itis written in the etic perspective about the American culture.Dating rituals in the American culture vary from person to person, for example, a familywith a daughter monitor her dating activities more than a family with just sons. Dating is thecourtship that eventually leads to marriage at some point in time. In the American culture, thereis no arranged marriage. Arranged marriage means that the parents pick the person for their childto marry as they often feel that the child is not mature enough to choose the one they love. Theseare very common in India. During courtship in the United States, according to Crapo (2013),who a person is going to date is based on physical attractiveness, type of clothing, prestige andemotional connection. The courtship can last for as long as the couple chooses and according tothe article,“Did you just ask me to marry you?: The gendered nature of heterosexualprogression”, byBaker and Elizabeth, (2003), men are the ones who take the initiative to moveto the next step. When the next step is taken then the boyfriend or girlfriend is introduced to theparents and other family members.

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Term
Winter
Professor
wright
Tags
Anthropology, Elizabeth, rites, passage

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