of cultural artifacts
"Body Ritual Among the Nacirema"
you know what culture is being described?
familiar practice is this? (If you still don't know, ask the professor!)
attend to the following italized terms as you think through the
essay is written as an ethnographic
sketch in accord with classic norms.
The essay defamiliarizes both
through the narrator's position as uninitiated stranger and through
the distanced idiom that transforms everyday life practices into
a more elevated ritual and magical acts.
is a gap between the technical idiom
of ethnography and the language of everyday life.
article becomes parodic precisely because of the discrepancy between
what we all know about brushing our teeth and the ethnographer's
elevated, distanced, normalizing discourse.
could continue to feel comfortable describing other
people in terms that sound ludicrous when applied to ourselves?
if the detached observer's authoritative
objectivity resides more in a manner of speaking than
in apt characterizations of other forms of life?
suggestions adapted from "After objectivism" by Renato Rosaldo in
The Cultural Studies Reader Ed. During (NY Routledge 1993)