Body rituals among the Nacirema

Essay by sumiko4High School, 12th grade September 2006

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Professor Emma Linton of the Martian Institute of Interplanetary Cultural Anthropology might have come up with her unexpected conclusions regarding to the body rituals of the Nacirema people. Linton's report was wildly inaccurate written due to the facts that she does not have any qualitative previous knowledge about the culture and she like to draw a comparison between cultures. She did not follow all the methodological process an anthropologist should follow, and a long term of studying of the culture is required. She interprets what she sees by using her knowledge but not by deep studying on the culture she relies too much on the interview.

Professor Emma Linton came up with the unexpected conclusion due to many wrong factors. She is studying the culture from the outsider's (etic) view and does not have an accurate view about the culture because she is not a member of the culture. She drags a comparison of her culture with other cultures, in the first paragraph she states, "...

but spend most of their day in ritual activity. The main point of the ritual is the human body ... powerful influence of rituals and ceremonies." We could clearly see that her culture does not pay attention on taking bath because she calls bathing as "body rituals" and "rituals and ceremonies". "body rituals" means to bath, which is an ordinary routine to do every day. It could not be considered as a ritual or ceremonies, but she described it as a ceremony because she is lack of knowledge in the Nacirema culture. Another example could be found in paragraph 4, she states "The medicine women do not give out the potions though, but decide what the ingredients should be..." As you can see, her country is not developed because we could...