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The Myth of the Noble Savage$
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Ter Ellingson

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520222687

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520222687.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Politics of Savagery

The Politics of Savagery

(p.219) 12 The Politics of Savagery
The Myth of the Noble Savage

Ter Ellingson

University of California Press

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

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