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From Here to Tierra Del Fuego cover
  • ISBN: 9780252025556
  • ISBN10: 0252025555

From Here to Tierra Del Fuego

by Paul Magee

  • List Price: $31.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/2000
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Description
Tierra del Fuego is the southernmost inhabited locale in the world and one of South America's most popular tourist destinations, although there's nothing there apart from "the end of the world". When asked why they have come to Tierra del Fuego, most visitors say, "I just wanted to be able to say I'd been here". Paul Magee, the anthropologist among them, seizes upon this absurd nonreason to investigate the West's complex relationship to an island synonymous with the word elsewhere.

Beginning with Darwin, who saw the Fuegian Indians as the world's most primitive inhabitants, Magee interweaves the offhand anecdotes of nineteenth-century colonial adventurers with the primitivist jokes of the travelers he encounters. Reading these self-superior texts through the theories and commentaries of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, and others, Magee explores the West's obsession with seeing its commodities, from Coke bottles to cakes of Pears' Soap, as objects of native fascination and fetishism. Bringing the trivial, the offhand, and the anecdotal into the space of politics, Magee demonstrates how the links between them and the genocidal colonization of the island implicate even the casual, overtly purposeless tourist in the exploitative structures of global capitalism.

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