Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

Miner, Horace. “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema.” American Anthropologist 1956: 58(3), 503-507.
Body Ritual among the Nacirema Worksheet Name ____________________
1. Where do the Nacirema reside? Have you ever met one?

2. What is magic? Does it exist? Explain.

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3. Describe a behavior you consider to be “extreme.” Might others disagree with you?

4. Define “ritual.”

5. According to #4, is this statement true for the Naciema? “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…”

6. What is the shrine (pp.503-4)? What do the Nacirema do there?

7. “Holy-mouth-men.” Who are they?

8. “…a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth”?? Explain.

9. “latipso” ??

10. “…one other kind of practitioner, known as a ‘listener.’” This is?

11. In closing the article, the author quotes, Malinowski, who wrote (1948:70), “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. 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.” Why this quote?

12 Why publish this article?

13. Why are we reading it?  For more information read Body Ritual Among the Nacirema on :

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