Biological approach

I chose the biological approach but honestly I would do a mixture of biological and environmental because both would be the best to understand. As I mentioned earlier my goal is to become a physician and the type of healthcare I want to provide is along the lines of preventive diseases. I think it’s important to see how different cultures/people interact with their environment but also how their environment affects each of their individual health (the biological aspect).


The differences between disease and illness are that a disease deals with how a person is biologically not healthy, showing symptoms relating to the disease (i.e. coughing, sneezing, fatigue). Whereas illness relates to the psychological effect on the individual from not feeling healthy like feeling depressed from having their leg broken or miserable from a stomach ach. It wasn’t obvious to me because I always thought disease and illness meant the same thing that it was just not being at a homeostatic level (or feeling healthy).


In the article Miner is talking about the “American” culture and I didn’t figure it out until reading the article a few times. A clear example would be with that the “Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits” highlights the US free market economy that we see in media i.e. the corporate CEO’s and Wall Street people constantly chasing money.


One ritual about the “holy mouth men” the Nacirema have a “pathological horror” for their health of teeth. It shows that those who have great teeth are seen as socially acceptable they are suited for significant others and to have many friends. Where those who have horrendous teeth are seen as having no friends or lovers. Another ritual would be that of the shrine rooms, its purpose is to show their social stature and their placement in the pyramid of power. The more shrine rooms a family owned the more money and prominence that family held in society.

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  1. James Conwell says:

    Rolando discussed the holy-mouth men and that the Nacirema pay these individuals visits because they are afraid for the health of their teeth. I don’t think that having great teeth is what is socially acceptable, but rather the fact that it would be socially unacceptable to have ‘bad’ teeth in this day in age. Poor dental hygiene is incredibly stigmatized in the US culture, and it should be indicated that it isn’t to have your teeth look pretty, but rather just so they don’t look as bad.
    I also think that the shrine-room is an interesting concept. While I agree with Rolando, it may be a sign of power to have more shrine-rooms (bathrooms), I think that it may be indicative of more than power. I think the fact that those with the resources to have more shrine rooms end up having more, because the culture is so concerned about beauty and health, due to the media and society having unrealistic expectations of both, that everyone wants more space for it. In other words, in today’s age, there is such a pathological fear for health and beauty that if an individual or family can afford more of these shrine-rooms, they will, because it adds an extra opportunity to be perceived as concerned with health, or to actually address health and beauty concerns. What may be interesting as well, is the fact that in today’s world, the shrine room is known to have a mirror, and we may actually be worshiping ourselves, in a rather self-negative way.

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