The Nacirema

By accident, sort of, I, today, found saved articles and other stuff, on paper, in a shelf, in a cupboard, in my home. A reminder of the old days not that long ago, when, in case you wanted to have access to something interesting, you saved a copy of it. Or at least put it on a list of literature. Or in you paper card file, or whatever you called that analogue database system, which was quite easy to do input in, but rather complicated to use if it got any big. In spite of throwing a lot of paperbased text away the previous years, I today found more that really I cba to keep. But I found also things worth saving. One short article I found, I read as first semester student of social (“cultural” across the pond) anthropology is Horace Miner’s Body Ritual among the Nacirema, published in The American Anthropologist in 1956. To be noted, I read it decades later. I am not that old.

It can be found on the web, not behind paywall, e.g. here; preview of original here. It is very much worth reading and I guarantuee it will expand your horizons and make you think about the meaning of “culture”.

And I guess I can throw that specific paper copy away, too 🙂

ps. After writing this, I found that Miner’s study article spun off further research into the rather peculiar culture of the Nacirema.

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