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CFS F18 Wk2,3

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Julie Jenkins

on 20 September 2018

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Transcript of CFS F18 Wk2,3

What is Slavery?
Orlando Patterson
Sociologist at Harvard
"slavery is the permanent, violent domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons"
critiques definitions that emphasize ownership & property relations
argues that being 'property' isn't a central characteristic of being a slave; rather not being able to be the 'subject' of property is- not able to 'own' or make claims vis a vie others
Roman property laws, giving right to absolute property and dominion over property, produced because of slavery
--enslaved persons came first, laws secondary
"to say, then, that a slave is the 'property' of the master is to say: 'the master exercises some unspecified rights over the slave' -- hardly an informative statement...we still need to know what rights govern other, non-slave relationships" (Kopytoff 1982).
"slavery is the permanent, violent domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons"

leads to "social death"
Is it appropriate to use the term slavery for any & every form of inequality and exploitation? What are the advantages? What are the limitations?
Should 'violence' or 'force' be a central characteristic of slavery?
What is coercion? Is it only the actual or potential use of violence?
What is freedom?

How have academics understood and defined slavery?
Marx & Engels
Social Evolutionary Theorists
5 stages/ Modes of production
'primitive' communalism
slave society (Greek/Roman)
mode of production:
forces/means of production (land, technological knowledge, human labor, etc)
relations of production (the relations that people enter into)
"Producers can reproduce their lives through labor, but the exploiting class can not"...lives on the surplus of producers through some MOP.
Different MOPs: to extract surplus...
Slave - exploiters own producers
Feudalism - land, use of political system to extract surplus
Capitalism - wage labor; producers own their own labor & sell
slavery's existence is an anomaly in capitalism
Legal ownership is central to slavery
Lovejoy, Miers, Kopytoff, Mellasioux
studied in relation to domestic forms of slavery in Africa
critique centrality of 'legal ownership', possession
Slaves are 'strangers', lack protection
"institutionalized marginality"
"made it possible for one society to steal the productive labor that another society has invested in producing human beings"
Status is central to slavery
"if we do not accept the Roman and civil law conception of absolute ownership, then ownership, stripped of its social and emotional rhetoric, is simply another name for property; it can only mean claims and powers vis-a-vis other persons with respect to a given thing, person or action. This is what a master possesses with respect to his slave; it is also exactly what a person possesses with respect to his or her spouse, child, employee, or land"
(Patterson 1982, p. 22).
takes a cross-historical & cross-cultural perspective of property
property not a relationship between persons & things, but a relationship between persons
"claims/powers vis a vis others persons with respect to a given thing, person, or action"
Kevin Bales-- Free the Slaves, Professor of Contemporary Slavery at University of Hull
need to find a way to limit the definition
favors equivalency over similarity
"a state marked by the loss of free will where a person is forced through violence or the threat of violence to give up the ability to sell freely his or her own labor power"
• Control based on actual or potential use of violence
• Lack of remuneration beyond subsistence
• Appropriation of labor or other qualities of the enslaved for economic gain.
Manzo-- Slavery is unpaid labor (influenced by Marx)

Van der Anker-- no, it's not about wages, its about control
Academics trying to analyze and explain:
What are the root causes of slavery &/or exploitation?
How do they operate?

What do you think might be some of these root causes or structures/ forces of exploitation? What factors need to be examined when look at forms of exploitation?
Free the Slaves and Anti-Slavery International -
contemporary slavery exists b/c of poverty
Anti-Slavery International:
forced to work
owned or controlled by employer, usually through physical/threatened abuse
dehumanized, treated as a commodity, or bought/sold as property
physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement
“the political rhetoric of the West blaming local producers for exploiting child labor, masks the economic benefit that Western consumers get from cheap clothes and from keeping the economic rules of the game in place so that the majority of the world has hardly any chance of developing a mixed-base economy, without widespread poverty, with decent living standards and adequate working conditions." (Van der Anker 2004)
Need to look at different forms of exploitation in different parts of the world and assess to what extent local factors and global factors play a role
explore central concepts that we associate with slavery- ownership, property, violence, coercion – and its antithesis- freedom.
Should legal ownership be the central characteristic?
examine the ways in which academics have attempted to define or understand slavery
possession is demonstrated through control, ability to use, manage, and gain profit.
So legal ownership (de jure) is not necessary to constitute possession (de facto)
What would Bales argue about the situation described in this article about ‘digital slavery’?

Davidson- extends this argument
Not possession, but subjugation

What does Davidson mean by saying that "the control exercised by slaveholders over slaves was not control over them 'such as a person might control a thing'"?
"control rested on forms of subjugation that made compliance the most likely outcome"
where coercive practices are designed to produce compliance.
"slavery a relation between slave and slaveholder, but also one that places slaves in a particular position in relation to society or community as a whole"
Need to examine the particular ways claims, privileges, immunities, liabilities, obligations bundled up relative to each other.
Davidson on Bales-- the problem in differentiation isn't issue of 'de-facto' ownership
rather the way in which slavery overlaps with other systems of domination via class, race, caste, gender etc.
What are Davidson's critique of Bales?
Should legal ownership (de jure or de facto) be the central characteristic?
How might Farmer's work help us in thinking about exploitation?
“Structural violence is one way of describing social arrangements that put individuals and populations in harm’s way… The arrangements are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world; they are violent because they cause injury to people …" Paul Farmer

"the task at hand is to identify the forces conspiring to promote suffering, with the understanding that will be differentially weighted in different settings"
"What do we actually know about the specific ways the structure of the global economy conditions both poverty and severe labor exploitation"
(Labaron & Howard 2018).
"Confronting Root Causes"
LeBaron, Howard, Thobos, Kryitsis
-reduction of public spending
-privitization of state enterprises
-reduction of wages to attract foreign investment
-reduction of export prices
-trade liberalization
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