Biological Approach

I think that the biological approach is very important in Medical Anthropology. I think that it is very important to understand how different environments, someone’s DNA/ genetics, and individual choice can all cause different variants when studying a different culture. I think it is important to know that if you observe one thing in a culture and in a different culture there could be different reasons to why each culture observes the same thing. It is important to understand that just because some things are the same does not mean that they are the same for the same reason. It is important to access why a culture is a certain way to understand why the culture has certain rituals and ideologies.

A disease is an abnormality to an organism. It is like a poison or infection that someone who is sick has. This is what people usually would like to have cured. An illness is the feelings and mental state someone has due to a disease. This is usually the way people measure the success of the treatments to cure the disease. Illness can be caused by emotional distress and feelings, not just physical properties seen in disease. This was not obvious to me. I thought that the only difference between an illness and a disease was the amount of time needed to resolve them. I thought illness was an acute problem and disease was a chronic problem.

Miner was discussing the American culture. This is even seen in the way that America is Nacirema backwards. I started to realize this after thinking about some of the rituals Miner presented. It is interesting to think that, even though heavily exaggerated, modern day American culture partakes in such rituals and ideologies.

Two rituals that the Nacirema people believed in and did was the use of hog fur and magical powder on their teeth, as well as, going to a health professional that drilled holes into decaying teeth and shoved material in them to stop the decaying process. The ritualistic nature of these rituals shows how involved and interested in appearance the Nacirema people are. They are willing to go through pain and torture to become the best looking that they can be. If someone did not appear to participate in these rituals thet were considered outcasts from society. Every Nacireman wants to belong, so, they all complete the rituals and are actively involved in their appearance.

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