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Lee B. Wilson

Historians have long understood that transforming people into property was the defining characteristic of Atlantic World slavery. This chapter examines litigation in

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Historians have long understood that transforming people into property was the defining characteristic of Atlantic World slavery. This chapter examines litigation in British colonial Vice Admiralty Courts in order to show how English legal categories and procedures facilitated this process of dehumanization. In colonies where people were classified as chattel property, litigants transformed local Vice Admiralty Courts into slave courts by analogizing human beings to ships and cargo. Doing so made sound economic sense from their perspective; it gave colonists instant access to an early modern English legal system that was centered on procedures and categories. But for people of African descent, it had decidedly negative consequences. Indeed, when colonists treated slaves as property, they helped to create a world in which Africans were not just like things, they were things. Through the very act of categorization, they rendered factual what had been a mere supposition: that Africans were less than human.

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Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-297-1

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Rasmus Sielemann

Drawing upon recent interests in Michel Foucault’s anti-essentialist conception of the state, I provide an analysis of state power in colonial slave societies that is…

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Drawing upon recent interests in Michel Foucault’s anti-essentialist conception of the state, I provide an analysis of state power in colonial slave societies that is attentive to the ongoing processes of “statification” and governmentalization of the state. This approach represents an alternative to classic state theory, which seems inadequate to describe the diverse political context of Caribbean colonial slave societies.

I apply the Foucauldian conception of the state to the empirical case of the Danish West Indies in the second half of the 18th century. Here, I focus on the problem of public order and its formation in relation to growing concerns over general economic, social, demographic, and political risks that the institution of slavery posed to colonial society. I argue that the slave laws of the 18th century can be seen as a governmental strategy to manage the risks of slavery by constituting a public order that would be subject to policing by the state. I also argue, however, that the specific circumstances of colonial slavery shaped the regulative practices toward the necessities of a flexible, adjustable, responsive government. I suggest that this should be interpreted as a governmental strategy calibrated to the realities of the specificities of colonial rule, rather than simply a reflection of incoherence and incompetence on the part of colonial authorities. The larger argument is that actual state practices have to be seen as results of problems of government in a given context, and as a function of the dynamic and reciprocal processes of government.

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Rethinking the Colonial State
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-655-6

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Documents from the History of Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1423-2

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Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson

We develop the concept of the slave-trade balance of payments and generate its table for the United States for 1790–1860. In the process, we construct new data for the…

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We develop the concept of the slave-trade balance of payments and generate its table for the United States for 1790–1860. In the process, we construct new data for the slave trade, including both the physical movement and revenue figures, and we analyze these numbers. The balance of payments includes slave imports, carrying trade in slaves, purchases of slaves that fail to be imported, outfitting and provisioning slave ships, and slave-ship sales. The slave-trade balance is integrated into the standard balance of payments. Among the findings are the following: slave imports were dominated by natural growth except for one decade; US ships had the greater role than foreign ships in the import trade, but were of small—and eventually nil—consequence in the carrying trade; federal and state laws to prohibit the slave trade in all its aspects were generally effective; and the slave-trade balance of payments was a small component of the overall balance.

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David Ellerman

Today, there is the real possibility that self-management and workplace democracy will follow socialism into the dustbin of history. But the connection of self-management…

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Today, there is the real possibility that self-management and workplace democracy will follow socialism into the dustbin of history. But the connection of self-management to socialism was misconceived from the beginning. Workplace democracy has its own roots in the historical struggle against slavery and against autocracy. The paper reviews the history of the theory of inalienable rights that applies not only against the self-sale contract and the political contract of subjection but also against of the self-rental or employment contract, today's contract of subjection for the workplace. The paper concludes with the current debate about corporate governance.

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Participation in the Age of Globalization and Information
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-278-8

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Kenneth Bryant

Law enforcement social control policies over black Americans can be traced back to early policing. From the development of the “patroller” system (established in 1794 to…

Abstract

Law enforcement social control policies over black Americans can be traced back to early policing. From the development of the “patroller” system (established in 1794 to systematically police slaves) to contemporary police militarization, the relationship between black Americans and the police has been defined by bitter conflict that continuously results in outward expressions of discontent and protests. Recent examples abound, including the Los Angeles riots in the 1990s, the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as the protests sparked by the deaths of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray. Indeed, social, political, and media speculation has placed police behavior under heavy scrutiny. Questions abound regarding the fairness, appropriateness, legality, and legitimacy of police methods, as critics have accused policing agencies of adopting punitive and repressive measures that target communities of color (and act as provocation for rioting). This chapter will use a critical lens to first investigate the historical social control strategies used against communities of color by law enforcement (beginning with antebellum “beat companies” to more contemporary “broken windows” policies). Next, the author observes that, in addition to institutional evolution, police behavior (specifically related to community policing and responses to community protests) have accordingly shifted since the nineteenth century. For example, the author discusses the three current strategies of protest management (escalated force, negotiated management, and strategic incapacitation) that have all been embraced to varying degrees with relationship to police response to black community protests. Last, the author explores the iterative process of police “command and control” policies and black community protests, noting that these competing forces have “coevolved,” mirroring one another, and feature antagonistic attitudes from both sides.

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Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9

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Rethinking the Colonial State
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-655-6

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Sara Murphy

Morrison's Beloved presents a complex anatomy of guilt. This is the perception that underwrites Slavoj Zizek's recruitment of the 1987 novel in his recent discussion of…

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Morrison's Beloved presents a complex anatomy of guilt. This is the perception that underwrites Slavoj Zizek's recruitment of the 1987 novel in his recent discussion of ethics and politics. In Zizek's Fragile Absolute (2000), he claims that Sethe's murder of her child as a privileged instance of what he terms “the ethical act.” Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalytic ethics to articulate a relation between the psychic and the political, Zizek argues that the only truly ethical act is one that breaks with the cycle of law and transgression, evading the superego through a suicidal “shooting oneself in the foot.” This paper argues that while Zizek's reading of Beloved is in some ways illuminating, Morrison's novel itself offers a profound analysis of Zizek's conception of the “ethical act,” exposing the limited nature of this act as part of a larger political strategy. I propose a reading of Morrison's novel that focuses on its exploration of violence and guilt, reading it both alongside and against dominant psychoanalytic conceptions derived from Freud, Lacan, and Zizek's deployment of both.

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Toward a Critique of Guilt: Perspectives from Law and the Humanities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-189-7

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This chapter is about child labour as slavery in modern and modernizing societies in an era of rapid globalization.For the most part, child slavery in modern societies is…

Abstract

This chapter is about child labour as slavery in modern and modernizing societies in an era of rapid globalization.

For the most part, child slavery in modern societies is hidden from view and cloaked in social customs, this being convenient for economic exploitation purposes.

The aim of this chapter is to bring children's ‘modern slavery’ out of the shadows, and thereby to help clarify and shape relevant social discourse and theory, social policies and practices, slavery-related legislation and instruments at all levels, and above all children's everyday lives, relationships and experiences.

The main focus is on issues surrounding (i) the concept of ‘slavery’; (ii) the types of slavery in the world today; (iii) and ‘child labour’ as a type, or basis, of slavery.

There is an in-depth examination of the implications of the notion of ‘slavery’ within international law for child labour, and especially that performed through schooling.

According to one influential approach, ‘slavery’ is 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 labour power. If so, then hundreds of millions of children in modern and modernizing societies qualify as slaves by virtue of the labour they are forced – compulsorily and statutorily required – to perform within schools, whereby they, their labour and their labour power are controlled and exploited for economic purposes.

Under globalization, such enslavement has almost reached global saturation point.

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Sherrise Truesdale-Moore

Drawing on the slavery history of the United States, the theoretical framework of the post-traumatic slave syndrome is used to understand the influences and challenges of…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the slavery history of the United States, the theoretical framework of the post-traumatic slave syndrome is used to understand the influences and challenges of contemporary assessment and counseling issues of African American offenders.

Methodology/approach

Through a qualitative review of the literature, supporting evidence is given from an investigation of slavery’s historical laws, practices, experiences, and beliefs’ and its influences on contemporary assessment and counseling issues concerning African American offenders and the challenges met by counselors.

Findings

The laws, the practices, the experiences, and the beliefs during slavery have had a profound influence on contemporary issues of assessment and counseling African American offenders. The transgenerational adaptations associated with previous traumas during and after slavery influenced counselors’ ability to effectively assess and counsel African American offenders. Moreover, transgenerational adaptations are equally present among white counselors, which have contributed to challenges with assessments and counseling of African American offenders.

Originality/value

Understanding history that is theoretically framed out of the post-traumatic slave syndrome builds knowledge in understanding present challenges and barriers to effective counseling of African American offenders in three ways: (1) it makes the connection between slavery and contemporary issues concerning assessment and counseling of African American offenders; (2) it explains how race might complicate counseling and assessment process; and (3) it sheds light on significant counseling concepts related to rehabilitation or sanctions of African American offenders.

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Race, Ethnicity and Law
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-604-4

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