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«The Nacirema Culture» - Great Essay Sample

«The Nacirema Culture»

The word Nacirema is American spelled backwards. Essentially, the Nacirema culture finds a special niche in the history of customs. This paper intends to examine the complexity and methodological approach of the Nacirema culture. The pattern of the cultural set up of the Nacirema is complex, in the sense that the logically believable combinations of behavior have not been found anywhere in the world (Miner, 503). The Nacirema society’s culture can be described through examination of terms used to explain the people’s inclination towards the aspects of culture relativism. Some of them include ritual, magic and shrines. The mythology behind the Nacirema nation explains that its origin emanated from a culture hero. This fact explains why the Nacirema people are deeply rooted in such complex culture (Miner, 504). For instance, majority of the Nacirema magical beliefs and practices represent unusual aspects, which seem desirable to be termed as extremes to which human behavior can reach. It is imperative to note that the complexity of the numerous rituals and the ingredients carried out in each single occasion remains unknown to the majority of the inhabitants.

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The market economy is the epicenter of the Nacirema culture. It is observed that considerable deal of the economy is spent in the ritual activities. From an ethnocentric point of view, the Nacirema people can be seen or perceived as crazy and obsessed, especially when analyzing the fundamental belief underlying the whole system, which is the human body (Miner, 505). The ugly is due to its natural tendency to debility and disease. The Nacirema strongly believe that all the body incarcerations can be averted through the powerful influences of ceremony and rituals. The powerful influence is characterized by one or more shrines in each home. It is noticeable that more shrines characterize more powerful individuals in the society. The satirical and ethnocentric perception is evident when a comparison is made between the wattle and daub houses and the wealthy walled shrines. It is evident that this community believes in strength of the natural powers more than anything else does (Miner, 504). From modern or civilized point of view, this community can be seen as enslaved and tied to the cultures, which do not add value to their lives. However, pumping sense to them might cause a revolt because the magnitude of blindness.

One of the aspects from an ethnocentric perception, which disputes the validity of the culture, is that of gifts and manner of issuance of gifts to medicine men by the sick people or clients. Rewarding the assistance offered by medicine men is ridiculous. The clients are expected to reward just the description of medicine, which is done in an ancient language understood by only the herbalists. The clients are again expected to offer gifts to the herbalists to interpret and offer them with the medicine. As much as the Nacirema people are adhering to their culture, the element of extortion is paramount (Miner, 506). This does not depict this culture as significant. The succession of the rituals from the households indicates a complicated phenomenon, which inclines the community’s life to the rituals and ceremony. In essence, much of the community’s life is inclined towards culture, not even religion or civilization of any kind. This precedent can be attested from the ethnocentric point of view. However, taking a keen study on the cultural set up of the Nacirema, it is realizable that it is part of life and continued appreciation is inevitable.

More over, the rituals and ceremonies performed to the subjects have created an impression of a preponderantly masochistic people served by a group of sadistic specialists. This is evident when a careful inquiry is done into the personality structure of the medicine men. In addition, a careful study of the ritual is done to men, such as the scraping and lacerating the face’s surface with sharp tools indicates masochistic tendencies among the subjects (Miner, 506). It is devastating to note that complex sick cases or other emerging complication are handled in the imposing temples situated in every community. This temple is referred to as the latipso. These ceremonies are very harsh and are normally performed by permanent maidens. It is believed that few people who enter these temples come out alive. It is such sadism that no matter how serious and urgent the case is, individuals are required to give rich gifts before granted admission into the temple chambers (Miner, 504). In addition, after survival, issuance of a richer gift should be uphold before the client is allowed to exit. This aspect of rewarding the ritual performers leaves a lot to question on the authenticity and honest aspect of the culture. It can be observed that the culture is guided by extreme extortionist element.

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The element of culture relativism might not be realistic in this case because it extorts its subjects. It has manipulated the subjects until they cannot recognize any hope from other alternatives. Qualitative research would reveal numerous aspects of denying this culture. For instance, it is not expectable to realize that one of the requirements of the ritual in the temple is stripping naked (Miner, 507). Losing body secrecy in a temple is not realistically correct, even if it is embracing the most respected culture in the world. More over, the manipulation and body scrutiny of the female clients by the medicine men is intolerable. These scenarios leave a lot to be desired about this culture. It is satirical to realize that, despite the incurable nature of these rituals and sometimes leading to death, they do not discourage the subjects from decreasing faith in the medicine men. This is a clear indication of slavery and blindness to culture.


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