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Open Access Foreign images in Mentawai: Authenticity and the exotic

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Foreign images in Mentawai: Authenticity and the exotic

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Human cultures and groups, when defining themselves, compare themselves with others. Names used to denote other groups often refer to characteristics associated with these groups, frequently in a way that expresses the superiority of the naming group or the strangeness or even danger of the named group. Derogatory terms such as ‘barbarians’, ‘head-cutters’ or simply ‘edible ones’ are examples of names referring to dangerous traits. The number of groups in the world using a name for themselves that translates simply as ‘human’ to differentiate themselves from neighbouring groups is staggering.

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