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1. examine three of the upstream impacts of mining. Which of
these do you think would be most difficult to estimate in a life
cycle assessment?
Your response should be at least 250 words in length.
2. Discuss the pollutants that are emitted during the operation
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Body Ritual among the Nacirema
H O R A C E M I N E R
University of Michigan
HE anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of
ways iq T which different peoples behave in similar situations
that he is not a p t to.
be surprised by even the most exotic customs. I n fact, if all of
thelogically
possible combinations of behavior have not been found
somewhere in the
world, he is a p t to suspect that they must be present in some
yet undescribed
tribe. This point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to
clan organization
by Murdock (1949: 7 1 ) . I n this light, the magical beliefs
and practices of the
Nacirema present such unusual aspects that i t seems desirable t
o describe
them a s an example of the extremes to which human behavior
can go.
Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the
attention
of anthropologists twenty years ago (1936:326), but the culture
of this people
is still very poorly understood. They are a North American
group living in the
territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare
of Mexico,
and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of
their origin, al-
though tradition states that they came from the east. According
to Nacirema
mythology, their nation was originated by a culture hero,
Notgnihsaw, who is
otherwise known for two great feats of strength-the throwing of
a piece of
wampum across the river Pa-To-Mac and the chopping down of
a cherry tree
in which the Spirit of Truth resided.
Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market
economy
which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the
people’s time
is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of
these labors and a
considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The
focus of this
activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which
loom a s a
dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a
concern is certainly
not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy
are unique.
The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to
be that the
human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is t o debility
and disease.
Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these
characteristics
through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and
ceremony. Every house-
hold has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more
powerful in-
dividuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and,
in fact, the
opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number
of such ritual
centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub
construction, but the
shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer
families imitate
the rich by applying pottery plaques t o their shrine walls.
While each family has a t least one such shrine, the rituals
associated with it
are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites
are normally
only discussed with children, and then only during the period
when they are
being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to
establish sufficient
503
504 American Anthropologist [ 5 8 , 1956
rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have
the rituals de-
scribed to me.
The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into
the wall.
I n this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions
without which
no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured
from a variety
of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the
medicine men,
whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts.
However, the medi-
cine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients,
but decide what
the ingredients should be and then write them down in a n
ancient and secret
language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men
and by the
herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.
The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but
is placed in
the charm-box of the household shrine. As these magical
materials are specific
for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people
are many, the
charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets
are so numerous
that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them
again. While
the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume
that the idea in
retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in
the charm-box,
before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way
protect the
worshipper.
Beneath the charm-box is a small font. 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. The holy waters are secured from the
Water Temple
of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate
ceremonies to make the
liquid ritually pure.
I n the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the
medicine men iri
prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated
“holy-mouth-
men.” The Nacirema have a n almost pathological horror of and
fascination
with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a
supernatural in-
fluence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of
the mouth,
they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed,
their jaws shrink,
their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also
believe that a
strong relationship exists between oral and moral
characteristics. For example,
there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is
supposed t o im-
prove their moral fiber.
The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-
rite. De-
spite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of
the mouth, this
rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger a s
revolting. It
was reported to me that 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.
I n addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a
holy-mouth-
man once or twice a year. These practitioners have a n
impressive set of para-
phernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and
prods. The use of
MINER] Nacirema Ritual 505
these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves
almost unbe-
lievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens
the client’s
mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes
which decay
may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into
these holes. If
there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large
sections of one or more
teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be
applied. I n
the client’s view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest
decay and to
draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of
the rite is
evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-men
year after
year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay.
I t is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema
is made,
there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of
these people.
One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man,
a s he jabs a n
awl into a n exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of
sadism is in-
volved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern
emerges, for most
of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was
t o these that
Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the
daily body rit-
ual which is performed only by men. This part of the rite
involves scraping
and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument.
Special wo-
men’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar
month, but what
they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. As part of this
ceremony,
women bake their heads in small ovens for about a n hour. The
theoretically
interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantl y
masochistic people
have developed sadistic specialists.
The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every
community
of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat
very sick patients
can only be performed a t this temple. These ceremonies
involve not only the
thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move
sedately
about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and
headdress,,
The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal t h a t
a fair pro-
portion of the really sick natives who enter the temple ever
recover. Small
children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been
known to resist
attempts to take them to the temple because “ t h a t is where
you go to die.”
Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing b u t eager to
undergo the
protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No
matter how ill
the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of
many temples
will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the
custodian. Even after
one has gained admission and survived the ceremonies, the
guardians will not
permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift.
The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or
her clothes.
I n every-day life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body
and its natural
functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the
secrecy of the
household shrine, where they are ritualized a s part of the
body-rites. Psycho-
logical shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly
lost upon
entry into the Zatipso. A man, whose own wife has never seen
him in an excre-
506 A merican A nl hro pologist [58, 1956
tory act, suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal
maiden while
he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel. This sort
of ceremonial
treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by
a diviner to
ascertain the course and nature of the client’s sickness. Female
clients, on the
other hand, find their naked bodies are suhjected to the scrutiny,
manipulation
and prodding of the medicine men.
Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything
but lie on
their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-
mouth-men,
involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals
awaken their
miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds
of pain while
performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the
maidens are
highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the
supplicant’s
mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be
healing. From
time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab
magically treated
needles into their flesh. 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.
There remains one other kind of practitioner, known a s a
“listener.” This
witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in
the heads of
people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe t h a t
parents bewitch
their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of
putting a curse on
children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The
counter-magic of the
witch-doctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply
tells the “lis-
tener” all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest
difficulties he can
remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirema in these
exorcism sessions
is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to
bemoan the rejec-
tion he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals
even see their
troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth.
I n conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices
which have their
base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive
aversion to the
natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat
people thin
and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. 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 i n the
fact t h a t the
ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A
few women
afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are
so idolized
t h a t they make a handsome living by simply going from
village to village and
permitting the natives to stare a t them for a fee.
Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory
functions are
ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural
reproductive functions
are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and
scheduled a s a n act.
Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical
materials or by
limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception
is actually very
infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so a s to hide their
condition. Parturi-
MINER] Nacirema Ritual 507
tion takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist,
a n d the majority
of women do not nurse their infants.
Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly
shown them to be
a magic-ridden people. I t is hard to understand how they have
managed to
exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon
themselves. B u t
even such exotic customs a s these take on real meaning when
they a r e viewed
with the insight provided b y Malinowski when he wrote
(1948:70):
Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in
the developed civiliza-
tion, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic.
But without its power
and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical
difficulties as he has
done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of
civilization.
REFERENCES CITED
LINTON, RALPH
MALINOWSKI, BRONISLAW
MURDOCK, GEORGE P.
1936 The Study of Man. New York, D. Appleton-Century Co.
1948 Magic, Science, and Religion. Glencoe, The Free Press.
1949 Social Structure. New York, The Macmillan Co.
Writing Assignment 1: The Ethnographic Perspective - In The
Style of the Nacirema
Hide Assignment Information
Instructions
For this assignment, make sure to review the article "Body
Ritual of the Nacirema" by Horace Miner that is under the week
1 learning resources. You may also want to review the articles
on fieldwork that are also listed with your week 1 resources.
Guidelines
For this assignment you should conduct an observation in a
setting that you are familiar with (examples are a religious
service, a coffee shop, an airport, a sporting event, a concert,
etc.). The only criteria is that you should be familiar with this
setting. You should conduct observations in your chosen setting
for at least one hour and take notes on the different activities
and behaviors you observe. You also should make sure to
provide a detailed physical description of the setting itself.
However, you must present your findings in an essay using the
style Miner used in his Nacirema article. In other words, you
should approach this familiar setting if you are studying it as an
anthropologist viewing a foreign culture for the first time and
making it seem 'strange' or 'exotic' to the reader. Your goal is to
write your essay so that even someone from the same culture
may not recognize it right away (similar to how some of you
may not have realized that Miner was describing basic
American personal hygiene and health care in his description).
The goal is not to reveal exactly what you are describing but
allow the reader to figure it out through your creative
description.
You should conclude your essay with a discussion on how you
see this assignment as relating to ethnocentrism and cultural
relativism. How has this assignment changed the way you view
cultures that are different from your own? How has this
assignment changed the way you view your own culture? Please
add any additional thoughts you may have on the ways that
anthropologists should approach the study of a particular
society.
Make sure that your paper is 1000-1500 words long, with
numbered pages.
Make sure that your paper is double-spaced, with one-inch
margins.
Use in-text citations in APA (American Psychological
Association) style.
Record all source documents cited in a references list at the end
of your paper. Follow bibliographic formatting as shown in
UMGC's Online Guide to Writing and Research
(https://www.umgc.edu/current-students/learning-
resources/writing-center/online-guide-to-writing/index.cfm) and
APA (http://www.umgc.edu/library/citationguides.shtml)
guides.
Be sure to include your name, the date, and the assignment topic
on your paper.
Save your assignment as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or
.docx) or PDF.
When you save your document, title it with your last name,
section number, and assignment name.
This assignment will use Turnitin to assess academic integrity.
Please refer to your syllabus for more details on how Turnitin
will be used in this class.

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1. examine three of the upstream impacts of mining. Which of these

  • 1. 1. examine three of the upstream impacts of mining. Which of these do you think would be most difficult to estimate in a life cycle assessment? Your response should be at least 250 words in length. 2. Discuss the pollutants that are emitted during the operation stage of a life cycle assessment for a fossil fuel source. Your response should be at least 250 words in length Body Ritual among the Nacirema H O R A C E M I N E R University of Michigan HE anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways iq T which different peoples behave in similar situations that he is not a p t to. be surprised by even the most exotic customs. I n fact, if all of thelogically possible combinations of behavior have not been found somewhere in the world, he is a p t to suspect that they must be present in some yet undescribed tribe. This point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to clan organization by Murdock (1949: 7 1 ) . I n this light, the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema present such unusual aspects that i t seems desirable t o describe them a s an example of the extremes to which human behavior can go.
  • 2. Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago (1936:326), but the culture of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, al- though tradition states that they came from the east. According to Nacirema mythology, their nation was originated by a culture hero, Notgnihsaw, who is otherwise known for two great feats of strength-the throwing of a piece of wampum across the river Pa-To-Mac and the chopping down of a cherry tree in which the Spirit of Truth resided. Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom a s a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique.
  • 3. The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is t o debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony. Every house- hold has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful in- dividuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques t o their shrine walls. While each family has a t least one such shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient 503 504 American Anthropologist [ 5 8 , 1956 rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have
  • 4. the rituals de- scribed to me. The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. I n this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts. However, the medi- cine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in a n ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm. The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charm-box of the household shrine. As these magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way
  • 5. protect the worshipper. Beneath the charm-box is a small font. 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. The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to make the liquid ritually pure. I n the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men iri prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated “holy-mouth- men.” The Nacirema have a n almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural in- fluence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed t o im- prove their moral fiber. The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-
  • 6. rite. De- spite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger a s revolting. It was reported to me that 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. I n addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy-mouth- man once or twice a year. These practitioners have a n impressive set of para- phernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of MINER] Nacirema Ritual 505 these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbe- lievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens the client’s mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. I n the client’s view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to
  • 7. draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-men year after year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay. I t is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man, a s he jabs a n awl into a n exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is in- volved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was t o these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily body rit- ual which is performed only by men. This part of the rite involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. Special wo- men’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about a n hour. The theoretically interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantl y masochistic people have developed sadistic specialists. The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every community
  • 8. of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed a t this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress,, The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal t h a t a fair pro- portion of the really sick natives who enter the temple ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been known to resist attempts to take them to the temple because “ t h a t is where you go to die.” Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing b u t eager to undergo the protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian. Even after one has gained admission and survived the ceremonies, the guardians will not permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift. The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes. I n every-day life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body and its natural functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the secrecy of the household shrine, where they are ritualized a s part of the
  • 9. body-rites. Psycho- logical shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly lost upon entry into the Zatipso. A man, whose own wife has never seen him in an excre- 506 A merican A nl hro pologist [58, 1956 tory act, suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course and nature of the client’s sickness. Female clients, on the other hand, find their naked bodies are suhjected to the scrutiny, manipulation and prodding of the medicine men. Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy- mouth-men, involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant’s mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From
  • 10. time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh. 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. There remains one other kind of practitioner, known a s a “listener.” This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe t h a t parents bewitch their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The counter-magic of the witch-doctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the “lis- tener” all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties he can remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirema in these exorcism sessions is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to bemoan the rejec- tion he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals even see their troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth. I n conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices which have their base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive aversion to the natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat people thin
  • 11. and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. 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 i n the fact t h a t the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized t h a t they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare a t them for a fee. Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory functions are ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproductive functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and scheduled a s a n act. Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so a s to hide their condition. Parturi- MINER] Nacirema Ritual 507 tion takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist, a n d the majority of women do not nurse their infants. Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly
  • 12. shown them to be a magic-ridden people. I t is hard to understand how they have managed to exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon themselves. B u t even such exotic customs a s these take on real meaning when they a r e viewed with the insight provided b y Malinowski when he wrote (1948:70): Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civiliza- tion, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization. REFERENCES CITED LINTON, RALPH MALINOWSKI, BRONISLAW MURDOCK, GEORGE P. 1936 The Study of Man. New York, D. Appleton-Century Co. 1948 Magic, Science, and Religion. Glencoe, The Free Press. 1949 Social Structure. New York, The Macmillan Co. Writing Assignment 1: The Ethnographic Perspective - In The Style of the Nacirema
  • 13. Hide Assignment Information Instructions For this assignment, make sure to review the article "Body Ritual of the Nacirema" by Horace Miner that is under the week 1 learning resources. You may also want to review the articles on fieldwork that are also listed with your week 1 resources. Guidelines For this assignment you should conduct an observation in a setting that you are familiar with (examples are a religious service, a coffee shop, an airport, a sporting event, a concert, etc.). The only criteria is that you should be familiar with this setting. You should conduct observations in your chosen setting for at least one hour and take notes on the different activities and behaviors you observe. You also should make sure to provide a detailed physical description of the setting itself. However, you must present your findings in an essay using the style Miner used in his Nacirema article. In other words, you should approach this familiar setting if you are studying it as an anthropologist viewing a foreign culture for the first time and making it seem 'strange' or 'exotic' to the reader. Your goal is to write your essay so that even someone from the same culture may not recognize it right away (similar to how some of you may not have realized that Miner was describing basic American personal hygiene and health care in his description). The goal is not to reveal exactly what you are describing but allow the reader to figure it out through your creative description. You should conclude your essay with a discussion on how you see this assignment as relating to ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. How has this assignment changed the way you view cultures that are different from your own? How has this assignment changed the way you view your own culture? Please add any additional thoughts you may have on the ways that
  • 14. anthropologists should approach the study of a particular society. Make sure that your paper is 1000-1500 words long, with numbered pages. Make sure that your paper is double-spaced, with one-inch margins. Use in-text citations in APA (American Psychological Association) style. Record all source documents cited in a references list at the end of your paper. Follow bibliographic formatting as shown in UMGC's Online Guide to Writing and Research (https://www.umgc.edu/current-students/learning- resources/writing-center/online-guide-to-writing/index.cfm) and APA (http://www.umgc.edu/library/citationguides.shtml) guides. Be sure to include your name, the date, and the assignment topic on your paper. Save your assignment as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF. When you save your document, title it with your last name, section number, and assignment name. This assignment will use Turnitin to assess academic integrity. Please refer to your syllabus for more details on how Turnitin will be used in this class.