Societies often exercise complicated religious ceremonies and daily services that are seemingly irrational, but define their culture and give them a distinct personality. In “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”, author Horace Miner (1956) recalls his studies about a “North American group called the Nacirema, living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Taraumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles” (Miner, 1956). During his expedition, Miner (1956) viewed many outwardly odd Nacirema practices such as “using magical potions and charms to defend against ailments, or drilling holes in their teeth, so they can insert supernatural substances that draw friends” (Miner 1956). In order to better understand a society’s culture, research methods such as the “life course approach”, “role taking”, and “resocialization” should be studied.
According to Schaefer (2012) a “life course approach focuses on the social factors that influence people throughout their lives and recognizes that biological changes mold but do not dictate human behavior” (Schaefer, 2012).
In Miner’s (1956) writings, he explains the Nacirema custom of telling a “listener” one’s problems, so he can “exorcise the devils lodged in one’s head” (Miner, 1956). This is similar to the American custom of going to a psychologist in order to determine and remedy reasons for unhealthy thoughts or mental issues. Although Miner (1956) does not give a specific example of an individual’s appointment with a “listener,” it is likely that a person’s problems resulted from family issues, physical attributes, social status, where one lives, or any other “social factors” (Miner, 1956). If I was to examine my life using the “life course approach,” I would. .roach, role taking, or resocialization.
According to Miner (1995) “without the power and guidance of early crude and irrelevant magic, man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization” (Miner, 1956). Before deeming a culture as worthless, think about how each culture started; no culture began with the most logical belief system or way of living, so even though this tribe may not seem so advanced, it may just be starting and have many future opportunities for greatness.
Works CitedMiner Horace. (1956). Body Ritual among the Nacirema. Retrieved
Schaefer, R. T. (2012). Socialization.
Sociology: a brief introduction (13th ed., pp. 76-114). New