Chapter

Scientists, the Ultimate Savage, and the Beast Within

Ter Ellingson

in The Myth of the Noble Savage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520222687
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925922 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520222687.003.0009
Scientists, the Ultimate Savage, and the Beast Within

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This chapter goes back to 1732 for a pre-Rousseau example of a work by a leading scientist that can be usefully juxtaposed with later works, including some which highlight the possibility of opposing interpretations of the same peoples, and so, by extension, the constructedness of scientists' interpretations. Ethnographic and scientific representations increasingly found evidences of animality and atavism in “savages” and lower classes alike. But the negativistic turn of European discourse on the savage also marked a significant break with eighteenth-century progressivism. Now the interpretations of other peoples began to change as well, and the change reached as far as the boundaries of Europe itself.

Keywords: 1732; ethnography; animality; atavism; Europe

Chapter.  12748 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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