The Politics of Savagery

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:
The Politics of Savagery

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This chapter argues that all discourse of “savage” peoples is essentially political. The term itself is oppositional, demanding a counterbalancing term such as “domesticated” or “civilized” to charge it with polarized discursive energy. Historically, all such oppositions were projected toward their definitive construction within the globalizing enterprise of colonial expansion and domination. Application of the label “savage” created a point of polarity that enabled manipulative control of any subject to which it was attached in the system of colonial politics.

Keywords: savage people; politics; colonial expansion; colonial politics

Chapter.  5282 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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