The Noble Savage and the World Wide Web

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 Noble Savage and the World Wide Web

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The story of the creation of the myth of the Noble Savage ends with its introduction into the anthropological disputes and political struggles over racial equality and human rights of the mid-nineteenth century. This chapter explores its effect on the beginning of the twenty-first century. Like the ideals of equality and human rights, which it was created to undermine, the myth has undergone numerous transformations and recontextualizations, the course of which would require a separate historical investigation to reveal. One of the more interesting places to begin is on the Internet. For a considerable number of these sites, comparisons reveal some patterns of order behind the apparent chaos. The most obvious of these patterns is the apparent tendency of such sites to fall into one or the other of two large groups, distinguished by the relatively positive or negative spin they put on the term “Noble Savage” itself.

Keywords: anthropological disputes; racial equality; human rights; Noble Savage; Internet

Chapter.  4336 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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