Biological Approach

The biological approach would be the most helpful to use and understand. Many questions anthropologists ask themselves is why do certain groups get sick more than others? With the biological approach they use genetics, the environment, and individual choices to answer this question. Certain populations respond to disease in different ways and this approach is used to find out why.

The difference between disease and illness was not obvious to me at first. Disease is any abnormal condition affecting someone. This could refer to an infection or even cancer and is something that needs to be cured. An illness is the feelings that result from a disease. An illness is the reason people seek doctors. They feel pain, fatigue, or any other form of discomfort.

In the Nacirema culture, Miner is talking about the American culture and I didn’t realize this until after I read the article and researched it. A ritual that they practiced daily was called the mouth-rite involving small bundles of hog hair put into the mouth with magical powders and they also seek out a holy-mouth-man each year to get rid of the evils of the mouth. He would then use tools to enlarge any holes made from decay in the teeth. The Nacirema pay close attention to their teeth and use these rituals to get rid of the “evil” or decay, to live more healthy lives. There is also a temple called latipso in every community. This temple is similar to hospitals because it is where people who are very sick go. Like hospitals, the patient is also required to pay a good sum of money to get in. Regardless, this is where the medicine men try to save the sick patient with various rituals, such as forcing the bed ridden patient to eat healing substances. These can be very painful and many do not survive, but the Nacirema’s faith in the medicine man never stops, similar to many people’s faith in hospitals. Many patients endure procedures they don’t understand, but still have faith in the doctors.

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