10 Exploratory Essay Topics on the Nacirema Culture

Topics and ideas
Posted on December 23, 2015

If you are tasked with writing an exploratory essay on the Nacirema culture, then your job is to ensure you have facts to substantiate the problem and solution you are defining for the audience. In order to do that well, you should review the list of facts below which might be of use to you in your writing.

Remember that this list is not comprehensive by any stretch, but it will serve you well as a jumping off point for your research efforts:

  1. Nacirema is an anthropological term used to define the study of American behavior and society, and the relationship between different citizens therein. The name is actually derived from the name “American” but in reverse. The term is a neologism which has attempted to deliberately distance American anthropologists from American culture so as to afford them a more objective viewpoint into the society.
  2. The Nacirema culture is a term used in social sciences, one which is based on the 1956 American Anthropologist publication about body rituals among the Nacirema culture. This piece is a satirical piece of writing on the American culture versus “other” cultures and has been revisited in 2001 in a collection of behavioral medicine, and as revisited yet again specifically under the psychology and behavioral science collection as of 2015. In the satirical paper, the author describes a tribe located in North America about which little is known. The writing expresses information about North American groups from a distance, in spite of being written about the modern group.
  3. One of the key items noted by Miner in the documented publication on the Nacirema culture in 1956 is the idea of oral cleanliness among the group, hospital care, and an emphasis on psychiatry. In this piece of writing the Nacirema culture is described as one which has a developed market economy and one which has a rich habit among the people. The work has since become quite famous and been used as a process analysis example and in many textbooks.
  4. Among the Nacirema culture, there is a distinct difference between the various healers or medicine men or women. The system is broken down into doctors, pharmacists, as well as psychiatrists. There is a ritual of the mouth which is conducted daily, known as brushing teeth. Washington is a cultural hero and many of the people have a charm box in their home inside of which medicines are contained, known as the medicine cabinet. The use of medicines and teeth brushing are regular rituals among these people.
  5. In 1972 another paper was published in the form of a social commentary on the Nacirema culture, focusing specifically on environmental issues which derived from the automobile cult and fascination with automobiles held by the people. This new publication emphasized how the true source of the culture of America was the cars and that the cars were part of the cultural attempt to modify the environment in which they lived.
  6. It was written about the Nacirema culture that in all population centers, there are collections of the cult symbol, or the automobile. This was held in high esteem by the people. The collections are a means of reconstructing anthropologically the confidence of principle ideologies of the people.
  7. Additional study attested to the fact that the size of mobile devices, materials, and colors corresponded to different values within the Nacirema system and that the devices are used as a form of personalized climate control inside the container.
  8. The linguistic pattern of the Nacirema culture has focused on folk linguistic concepts, and on grammar. The findings have stated that while the Nacirema people claim to have only five distinct vowel sounds there are actually nine vowels each of which are phonemically distinct and distinguished based on three degrees of tongue advancement and height. This research highlighted that out of the nine, five are in fact used most commonly and these vowels form the basis of mapping and understanding the language of the people. What was further noted was that the language and the use of distinct vowels was a means to separate the Nacirema people into the caste system, such that certain caste levels used certain tongue placements or heights or specific vowels while others did not.
  9. Speech codes have been studies among the Nacirema culture, things which are compared across the middle classes along the West coast and those who live in other areas of the Nacirema regions. These speech codes were crafted in 1992 by Gerry Phillipsen.
  10. The name “Nacirema” has also appeared in the field of philosophy as the title for a fictional country where a role-playing game is set. This role playing game was designed to teach the theory of justice as fairness to undergraduate students. In this game, students are to assume the role of a Nacirema citizen during which time they have to vote on public issues and try to find a solution without forcing anyone else among the group to act or vote in such a way that is against their own will. The purpose of this game is to show students that the only way citizens can gain social fairness is really to ignore individual circumstance such as income, race, religion, or sex and instead focus on those things which impact public living.

With these ten facts in mind, you can easily begin the research for your next written work. Remember that your goal in this type of assignment is really to delve into a particular facet, problem, or idea among the topic and from there propose to the reader what solutions exist for the problem and which one you think is best. In order to perform this you may use 20 topics on the Nacirema culture which perfectly suit the purpose. If you have troubles with expressing your thoughts with the help of words, make use of our writing guide on exploratory essays. If you do not agree with any of the options on the table, you can always exercise your creativity by coming up with one that you deem to be best suited to tackling the problem or mitigating the issue you have raised in your work. Visit our essay writing service if you meet with some problems in academic paper writing.

Kimmel, M. “Ritualized Homosexuality In A Nacirema Subculture”. Sexualities 9.1 (2006): 95-105. Web.
Mahood, Wayne, and Lyn Rusick. “Nacirema, Weans, And Bushmen: Studying Cultures”. The Social Studies 72.4 (1981): 184-187. Web.
Miner, Horace. “Body Ritual Among The Nacirema”. American Anthropologist 58.3 (1956): 503-507. Web.
Philipsen, Gerry. Speaking Culturally. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992. Print.
Spradley, James P, and Michael A Rynkiewich. The Nacirema. Boston: Little, Brown, 1975. Print.
Watson, D. R. The Textual Representation Of Nacirema Culture. University of Manchester, Department of Sociology, 1992. Print.
Watson, Rod. Analysing Practical And Professional Texts. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2009. Print.

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