MAKING THE FAMILIAR STRANGE

BODY RITUALS AMONG THE NACIREMA

  • What was your first hint that this text is about the American culture? Or did someone else tell you?  
  • How does the use of language – refer to specific examples – make this description very distant and unfamiliar? 
  • How does this reading help us as ethnographers? 
  • Take something that’s familiar to you – an ordinary routine or ritual in your everyday life that would seem extraordinary to someone else in another culture or subculture – and reexamine it as if you were seeing it for the first time. Try something simple – like the way you fix your hair, listen to music, change a tire, take in the mail, or get ready for a sporting event. List the specific behaviors of your routine, and identify what might seem strange or extraordinary to others. Prepare a list of three routines or rituals to share with others.

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