LIFE IN RIVERFRONT is a unique case study that offers a fresh approach to ethnography because it looks at American culture as seen through the eyes of Japanese anthropologists. Every cultural anthropology student is introduced to papers on the “Nacirema,” a very foreign culture with many daily rituals and a fanaticism for cleanliness, especially as they prepare themselves for work in the morning. In truth, the “nacirema” is American (spelled backwards), and the lessons learned from seeing one’s own culture through the eyes of a ‘stranger’ illuminate the notion of ethnocentrism in a powerful way. While a major task of anthropology is to make the strange familiar and the exotic or enigmatic understandable, another task is to make the familiar strange so that one can see one’s own culture in a new light. This case study accomplishes this and more.
Table of Contents
1. What Is Middle America and Riverfront?: Our Expectations and Reality. 2. Which Church Do You Go To?: Finding a Place to Live. 3. In Old Days Things Were Different: Ways of Growing Up. 4. The North Side is Polish Territory: Mobility, Stability and Ethnicity. 5. This is Our Way of Doing Things: Ethnic Manifestations and Identity. 6. Your Baby Will Be Half Polish: Changing Relationships with Riverfrontans. 7. Don't Spoil Your Baby: Educating a Novice Mother. 8. Share! And be Independent: Socialization and Social Management at a Child and Senior Center. 9. Boys Became Independent: Hard Work and Caring Among Men. 10. Epilogue: Our Hometown. 11. References Cited.