I chose this approach because of my fascination with biology. I believe picking an approach that really interests me would further my research faster and more efficiently. I love biology, it’s my major, and I believe it’s based on how the body functions. These functions make everything possible. For example, culture is a function of the body. Culture is built depending on the biology or physical states of the people. A biology like genetics. It’s what forms people. Take Darwinism, those genetics are naturally selected throughout the years and a “people” is formed. Those peoples will be responsible for the culture formed by their behaviors and values, which comes from their genetics (biology). So essentially the biological/physical approach would be the best approach when a broad focus is desired, everything stems down to biology.


I believe that disease is chronic and illness is acute. The distinction between disease and illness is not always obvious to me, it’s not at all black and white, there’s definitely some gray.  For example, as an illness progresses it could be then categorized as a disease, such as forgetfulness. This could be an acute illness brought on by stress or it could be the onset of Alzheimer’s, which is chronic and a disease.


The culture is Americans in the 1950’s. I, regretfully, admit that I had no idea he was talking about Americans. I had to do a bit of research on the paper. I read the rituals and was honestly horrified, it’s kind of funny now to think Miner had me going.


I’ve picked two rituals, men scraping the surface of their faces and women sticking their heads in an oven for an hour. Now that I know that he’s satirizing Americans, I don’t feel so grossed out by these stories, but instead I find humor in his satire. I realize now that these rituals are men shaving their faces and women getting their hair done. I believe the values and ideologies relate to health and medicine in a more shallow way. An American is considered “healthy” and “well off” if they are well groomed. If an America is unshaved and hair a mess they will be considered unwell in some way. So in conclusion, I feel being well groomed is part of the self esteem or shallow part of American health.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. zielin34 says:

    Hi Angela,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I agree that the biological/physical approach is important. It does seem that the universe does and always will revolve around biology. The body does amazing things, I am also a biology major. I am studying human biology. It’s fascinating to learn about the functions and abilities of the body.

    Miner was tricky in his writing. It is interesting how rewording a simple concept so common to us can come across as something so foreign. I agree as to your ritual choices and the explanations. It is very true that self esteem and body image are heavily based on self care and grooming. Our society views others by these standards on a regular basis. It is interesting how someone can appear to be dirty if they are uncombed, or messy if their shirt is untucked, or nerdy with glasses. Our society does indeed weigh appearance very heavily and we judge others accordingly. Judging others seems to be a taboo that most people frown upon yet everyone partakes in directly or indirectly. Having a social class and placing others into our mental realm of understanding seems to be how our society feels comfortable. And the outside appearance of others is just an easy way to do that. Great post. 🙂

  2. Breanna Block says:

    I agree that the difference between illness and disease is not black and white. I am not sure a perfect distinction between the two exists. I had a really hard time deciding if some of the disorders from the illness activity were illnesses or not. So I agree there can be a pretty large gray area depending on the factors you are using to make your decision. I thought it was interesting you picked shaving and hair styling. I remember when reading through the article, that I didn’t catch which ritual they were explaining when they said, “women sticking their heads in ovens” as fast as I figured out the others. I definitely agree that appearance is idolized in American culture, but the standard for appearance is always changing. The ideal shape for people has changed throughout history. Early in the twentieth century, one might argue that the buxom figures were sought after. In recent years a real slim shape is becoming more popular. Today “skinny” is usually seen as the preferred shape. My point with all of this is that appearance is often tied to health in some way. What I find ironic is that today, is that though skinny and healthy are thought to come hand in hand, the way Americans achieve being skinny is by doing really unhealthy things. American society not only accepts plastic surgery and crash dieting, but its now in vogue. The cause, whether it be self esteem, shallowness, or the need to be accepted may vary, but there is no doubt we have taken the importance of appearance to extremes. In my opinion the modern idea of appearance and health is often looking a certain way, no matter if you have to risk your health to get there. However the most modern view might be the trend that fit is the new sexy, which usually requires lots of exercise and healthy eating habits. This is a trend I really hope continues!

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