Though miner never discloses it in the article itself

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Though Miner never discloses it in the article itself, "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" is asatirical account of American society itself. The meaning of the satire will be discussed in the analysispart of our summary. "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" / Miner - Analysis and Explanation"Body Ritual Among the Nacirema"(link for text summary) is a sarcastic account of the none-existing "Nacirema" tribe which is actually American culture (Nacirema in reverse is American). Mineruses this satire to say a few things about the nature of ethnological work (and American culture).In Miner's article the special domestic shrines the Nacirema use are bathrooms. The specialcharm-box is the medicine cabinet. Medicine men are obviously doctors while holy mouth men aredentists. The latipso is a hospital and the listener is a psychologist. Finally, the men scraping their face areshaving while the women baking their heads are putting them in salon hair dryers.
The meaning of Miner's "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" is that if we distance ourselves andour point of view, a culture will always look peculiar to us. On the other hand, looked at from within,even the strangest customs and practices might seem completely reasonable and justifiable. "Body RitualAmong the Nacirema" is important because it demonstrates the problem of representation in ethnography.The purpose of article is to raise the question of how can we study a different culture from the outside andhow can we understand our own culture from within. The article thus demonstrates the topic of culturalrelativism, arguing that there is no one objective viewpoint from which to assess cultures, and that everyculture should be understood and interpreted from the native's point of view.Following Miner's article we can ask ourselves, as anthropologists, how should we approach thestudy of a particular society. If we are to distance ourselves and look at it as if we were aliens (like Minerdoes in regards to the Nacirema) we might gain one perspective that notices the hidden obvious and asksquestions only someone from the outside can ask (see for example Alfred Schuzt's "The Stranger"). Onthe other hand, if we don't have the inner context of a society we might fail to understand the meaning ofdifferent things we see in it.Many American will be insulted by Miner's account of them, and will justly claim that he fails toaccount for many factors in what he describes. On the other hand, an American reading "Body RitualAmong the Nacirema" can gain a new interesting understanding about body culture in American societyand see banal everyday practices in a new light.The Nacirema Culture ExplainedThe Nacirema are a peculiar culture in North America. According to Horace Miner's account ofthem in his 1956 article "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema", one of their main characteristics is a highlynegative sentiment towards the human body which is considered by them to be ugly and sick. Miner

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