The Power of Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”


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Essay #: 053351
Total text length is 5,527 characters (approximately 3.8 pages).

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The beginning:
The Power of Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”
Horace Miner’s 1956 essay “Body Ritual Among the
” creates a new way of looking at and thinking about American culture. Miner uses both verbal and situational irony to expose the ways in which American culture perceives and changes the body as a distinctive cultural phenomenon that has become naturalized to those of us who live in and participate in this culture. By using language that parallels previous anthropological studies of non-American (i.e., “other”) cultures around the world, Miner divorces the daily rituals we take for granted from our lives and elevates them into religious practices and objects to be studied through an “objective” outside viewpoint. In doing...
The end:
..... a certain “
” culture does an incredibly good job of critiquing both the form and content of American culture. Miner expertly grabs and hold’s the reader’s attention through his use of language, and makes mundane behaviors seem both fantastical and strange. By doing so, Miner challenges his readers to reevaluate their stereotypes of “foreign” cultures while at the same time highlighting some of the core issues at stake in our own American obsession with the body.
Miner, Horace. “Body Ritual Among the
.” Reproduced by permission of the American Anthropological Association from The American Anthropologist, vol. 58 (1956), pp. 503-507. (Accessed 22 July 2009) <>