The Wild West: The Mythical Cowboy and Social Theory

The Wild West: The Mythical Cowboy and Social Theory

  • Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book, written by the author of the celebrated volume Six Guns and Society, explains why the myth of the Wild West is popular around the world. It shows how the cultural icon of the Wild West speaks to deep desires of individualism and liberty and offers a vision of social contract theory in which a free and equal individual (the cowboy) emerges from the state of nature (the wilderness) to build a civil society (the frontier community). The metaphor of the Wild West retained a commitment to some limited government (law and order) but rejected the notion of the fully codified state as too oppressive (the corrupt sheriff). Compelling and magnificently suggestive, the book unpacks one of the core icons of our time.

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