Week 1 Reflection: Ecological Approach

The ecological approach to Anthropology is useful because it explores the environment around us of humans in the past and present. It distinctively examines Humans, Culture, Plants & Animals, Political Economy, and Natural Resources and how these features affect our world as we know it! Using this approach we can investigate the how these environmental factors contribute to our own interactions.

The distinction between disease and illness is most definitely not an obvious concept to evaluate. The true difference between disease and illness lies within the diagnoses and damage done to the infected party. The idea of disease confronts a series of conditions that influences the destruction of the body. An illness on the other hand implies a sense of emotion or feelings regarding a disease or sickness and may even be a way to describe emotions that accompany disease side effects.

In the article by Horace Miner, “Body Ritual among the Nacerima” he speaks of the Nacerima as extremist in acts of human behavior. The first behavior Nacerima ritual that explains their values is the “Latipso” temple ceremonies which are similar to idea of a hospital. The very sick natives would enter for treatment and due such harsh condition very few leave the temple. Many view these temple ceremonies as “that is where you go to die” because of the number of deaths following these procedures. The second is the cultural similarities of women’s body images which identifies ceremonies to make breast larger or smaller and also to make fat people thin using specific rituals. In my opinion, this realization that this culture of individuals have learned to express their beliefs through body rituals is different but should respected and appreciated for its distinction. This article helped me to understand the difference between disease and illness because in this culture our interpretation of illness is their idea of disease.

One thought on “Week 1 Reflection: Ecological Approach

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post. I also believe that the Latipso temple ceremonies are quite similar to our idea of a hospital. It could also possibly be like a rehab center or mental hospital which would result on fewer people coming out of them compared to how many can come out of a hospital. You mentioned that in the Latipso temple ceremonies sick people would enter them yet very few people would come out of them. It seems to me that this could be very similar to today’s mental hospitals specifically as well as other treatment facilities.

    The other ritual you talked about, which was the ceremonies regarding women’s body images, sounds to me just like plastic surgery! Women in today’s society also want to enlarge their breasts just as the women in the Nacirema culture would in those ceremonies. Their rituals for making fat people thinner sounds just like today’s liposuction! It is really interesting how this article talks about rituals that these people would use to ultimately get the same result as the things we do today. Breast Augmentation and liposuction would both result in bigger breasts for women and slimming down for fat people just like these people’s rituals would result.

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