Unit 2 3
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  • 1. Unit 2-3 Rituals in Everyday Life
  • 2. Ritual A communication activity whose universal nature at the process level allows us to discover something unique about a specific culture through an examination of content.
  • 3. Ritual Myths
    • Rituals are repetition of the same thing over and over again.
    • Rituals are mindless routines.
    • Rituals are reserved for specialized settings, such as religious or secret organizations.
  • 4. Ritual Myths cont…
    • Rituals are quite foreign from our everyday lives.
    • Rituals are mindless routines.
    • Rituals are performed by people who are less sophisticated than ourselves.
  • 5. Three Rituals Explained
  • 6. Ritual of Keh Chee
  • 7. Host: Eat more food. Guest: No thanks. Host: Eat more food – you’re too skinny. Guest: OK.
  • 8. This is a Korean ritual of duty – at a party you are to have fun and enjoy yourself greatly.
  • 9. Ritual of Salispuede
  • 10. Guest: It’s been fun, but I’ve gotta leave. Host: Come on stay a little longer. Guest: I’ve really got to stay or I’ll miss my bus. Host: I’ll take you back don’t worry. Guest: Ok I’ll stay.
  • 11. In Columbia, you are obligated to stay longer than when you say you will stay – it’s a politeness ritual.
  • 12. Ritual of Kenson
  • 13. Person A: You are so good at math, can you help me. Person B: I suck at math – you’re just being kind. Person A: No, really – you’re the best in the class. Person B: Well, I guess I do know a little something about math.
  • 14. Kenson Ritual Broken Down Person A: You are so good at math, can you help me. (highlight someone’s ability)
  • 15. Kenson Ritual Broken Down Person B: I suck at math – you’re just being kind . (Denial)
  • 16. Kenson Ritual Broken Down Person A: No, really – you’re the best in the class. (Reassertion)
  • 17. Kenson Ritual Broken Down Person B: Well, I guess I do know a little something about math. (Indirect Acceptance )
  • 18. Polar Bear Ritual
  • 19. Recognizing Simple Rituals 1) Look for change and how it affects people’s relationships within a culture. 2) What kinds of things are said just because people have relationships with each other? Do other people in the culture do this as well?
  • 20. Recognizing Simple Rituals 3) Watch and see what happens if someone violates a cultural expectation. 4) Does the culture have an specific events that occur?
  • 21. Horace Miner’s (1956) Body Ritual Among the Nacirema
  • 22. General Location of the Nacirema They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, The Yaqui & Tarahumare of Mexico, & the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles.
  • 23. According to Nacirema mythology, their nation was originated by a cultural hero, Notgnishsaw… [who chopped] down a cherry tree in which the Spirit of Truth resided.
  • 24. Fundamental Belief The Human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease.
  • 25. Family Shrine Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in society have several shrines.
  • 26. Family Shrine Focal point Box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live.
  • 27. Medicine Men The medicine men do not provide curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language.
  • 28. Herbalists This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.
  • 29. Daily Shrine Ritual Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution (cleansing).
  • 30. Holy-Mouth Men The Nacirema have an almost pathological fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have supernatural influence on all social relationships.
  • 31. Holy-Mouth Men Were it nor for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums would bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them.
  • 32. Daily Mouth Rite The ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures. People also seek out the holy mouth man twice a year.
  • 33. Male Body Ritual This part of the rite involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument.
  • 34. Female Daily Body Ritual Special women’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity…women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour.
  • 35. lati pso The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple… [overseen by a] group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress.
  • 36. lati pso Politics The guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian.
  • 37. The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes…suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel.
  • 38. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course of the client’s sickness.
  • 39. At other times, they insert magic wands in the supplicants mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing.
  • 40. From time to time, the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh.
  • 41. The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.
  • 42. Listener This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched…Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them.
  • 43. There are ritual feasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat.
  • 44. Still other rites are used to make women’s breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation.
  • 45. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.
  • 46. Questions to Ask Yourself
    • How do the Nacirema feel about the human body?
    • Do you think the charms and magical potions used by the Nacirema really work?
    • What are your opinions on the body rituals performed?
  • 47. Nacirema American
  • 48. General Location of the Nacirema They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, The Yaqui & Tarahumare of Mexico, & the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles.
  • 49. According to Nacirema mythology, their nation was originated by a cultural hero, Notgnishsaw (Washington)… [who chopped] down a cherry tree in which the Spirit of Truth resided.
  • 50. Fundamental Belief The Human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease.
  • 51. Family Shrine (Bathroom) Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in society have several shrines.
  • 52. Focal point (Sink) Box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live.
  • 53. Medicine Men (Physicians) The medicine men do not provide curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language.
  • 54. Herbalists (Pharmacists) This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.
  • 55. Daily Shrine Ritual Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution (cleansing).
  • 56. Holy-Mouth Men (Dentists) The Nacirema have an almost pathological fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have supernatural influence on all social relationships.
  • 57. Holy-Mouth Men Were it nor for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums would bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them.
  • 58. Daily Mouth Rite (brushing teeth) The ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures. People also seek out the holy mouth man twice a year.
  • 59. Male Body Ritual (shaving) This part of the rite involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument.
  • 60. Female Daily Body Ritual (Getting your Hair Done) Special women’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity…women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour.
  • 61. lati pso – ospital or Hospital The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple… [overseen by a] group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress.
  • 62. lati pso Politics The guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian.
  • 63. The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes…suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel.
  • 64. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course of the client’s sickness.
  • 65. At other times, they insert magic wands in the supplicants mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing.
  • 66. From time to time, the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh.
  • 67. The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.
  • 68. Listener (Therapist) This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched…Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them.
  • 69. There are ritual feasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat.
  • 70. Still other rites are used to make women’s breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation.
  • 71. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.