Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nacirema (Part B)

Nacirema (Part B)
1) As an American I feel the words I chose to describe the Nacirema were fair and mostly unbiased (it was difficult not to be even though I knew Horace Miner was writing about Americans). 

2) I feel that none of the words I chose exhibited ethnocentrism otherwise I would not have used them. They may be somewhat biased since these are words that I chose from my life experiences. Ritualistic-is a word I would use to describe many cultures including my own. Fraught-I believe the American culture even today is filled with rituals to prevent illness or physical decay. Reticent-This is probably the most biased of all the words I chose. It 's not that the Nacirema are secretive it was just the lack of understanding. Specialized-I think all cultures have specialized persons in their society. These people are most likely specialized in different areas that would aid in survival or enhance the quality of life depending on their environment. Self Conscious-This I believe is just human nature. I believe most cultures and I can even think of a  few animals that groom themselves. Of course it does seem that the women are objectified a little more in the Nacirema culture which could vary from other cultures.

3) If I was to change a word it would be reticent. I think that if there was additional information we would find the Nacirema would discuss the "secretive" information if it was at an appropriate time. Also the language of the medicine men is not secretive it is complex (after all they are doctors).

4) I believe it is important to describe other cultures in a manner as free from personal cultural bias as possible because it allows the reader to learn without prejudice towards a right or wrong. Hopefully to see a culture for what they are or where they have been. A blank slate. I believe that it is not completely possible to avoid cultural bias as a Cultural Anthropologist. I also think as mentioned by Ken Barger it is easier to control or recognize our biases and the most we can do is try realize when we are not understanding because that is when the opportunity for learning ends.-Steven Fulton

Barger, Ken. "ETHNOCENTRISM." Indiana University Indianapolis , 2011. Web.


  1. You are definitely at a disadvantage if you already know the story behind this article. Interesting choice of words and I really don't see too much bias in any of them.

    I wish you would have just added Part B onto your other post so I could read them together when I comment. Keep an eye on those directions and guidelines for future posts.

  2. It was interesting to me that you were aware of the article was about Americans. I liked your choice of descriptive words as I struggled to communicate the same traits that were defined in the text. "Ritualistic" was a great word to use in place of the word "superstitious" that was used in the article and "reticent" was a good choice for secretive.