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The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema - Essay Example

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Rituals in America are often the determined by a number of factors such as the lifestyles, cultural values, religious beliefs etc. Though these rituals are observed by different ethno cultural segments of the American…
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The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema
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Download file to see previous pages In such cases, though certain traits of any ritual differ from class to class and communal segment to another segment, performing this ritual often are based on a common metanarrative. Factually, the symbolism as well as the roles of the participants is determined by individual interests and communal interests in the ritual. One such American (or Nacirema ritual, in Horace Miner’s term) ritual is the eating ritual. Indeed Miner’s hoax anthropological article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” deals with the question whether the American obsession with the cleanliness of human is justifiable or irrational. While parodying the American body ritual from an ethnocentric perspective, Miner clarifies his side by quoting Malinowski “Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic” (Miner, ). Meanwhile Miner explores deep into the fact whether modern anthropologists are aware of the dichotomy between scientific knowledge of a ritual practiced by a community and the ethnocentric bias of research. When he uses the term “configuration” or “style”, he essentially criticizes the modern trends of perceiving a culture from a Eurocentric perspective....
Indeed the sense of individuality is greatly contributed to by a member’s corporeal or bodily existence in the society, that is, to a great extent can be considered as “one body, one individual” (existentialism). This attitude to one’s self highly determines their habit of eating in groups. Also this sense of individuality has a great role in the segregation of the society into the smallest functional groups that are mostly similar to modern family. The “one body, one individual” motive also shapes their taste in food. Sense of Individuality and Body in Shaping the Rituals The underlying grand principle of individuality is to sustain the body, therefore, to sustain the individual through rituals and ceremonies. Each of the functional segments like modern family has commonly one or two shrines where the members participate in the rituals. Often members of a number of families gather together in domestic and commercial shrines to take part in the belly-ritual or eating ritual. Generally the laymen of the Nacirema do not have any specific shrine, whereas there are commercial shrines for people. Symbolism of the Eating Ritual While performing the eating ritual, the Nacirema perform some other rituals i.e. hand-washing as a process of purifying the evil, offering-vases washing, etc. Generally the Naciremans take two types of liquids: holy liquids and normal liquid. They take the normal liquid as a part of their livings. But they occasionally take the holy liquids in order to get temporal relief from the adversaries of reality. Reportedly a number of the Naciremans are found to depend excessively on the holy liquids. One of the mentionable eating rituals of Nacirema is to have granular and solid meals. The Naciremans show a tendency to classify ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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