SMU Law Review


In 1956, anthropologist Horace Miner published the article for which he is best known, "Body Ritual among the Nacirema." This short but groundbreaking essay described personal rituals practiced by a fascinating but poorly understood people. Inspired by Miner's work and based on close-quarters field research, this essay revisits the strange world of the Nacirema. Two of the more "legal" features of their society are explored: (1) what might be termed the higher-order constitutional design of their society, and (2) the mechanisms of day-to-day maintenance of their social order.

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