Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study, With a New Preface

Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study, With a New Preface

by Orlando Patterson


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Winner of the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, American Sociological Association

Co-Winner of the Ralph J. Bunche Award, American Political Science Association

In a work of prodigious scholarship and enormous breadth, which draws on the tribal, ancient, premodern, and modern worlds, Orlando Patterson discusses the internal dynamics of slavery in sixty-six societies over time. These include Greece and Rome, medieval Europe, China, Korea, the Islamic kingdoms, Africa, the Caribbean islands, and the American South.

Praise for the previous edition:

"Densely packed, closely argued, and highly controversial in its dissent from much of the scholarly conventional wisdom about the function and structure of slavery worldwide."

--Boston Globe

"There can be no doubt that this rich and learned book will reinvigorate debates that have tended to become too empirical and specialized. Patterson has helped to set out the direction for the next decades of interdisciplinary scholarship."

--David Brion Davis, New York Review of Books

"This is clearly a major and important work, one which will be widely discussed, cited, and used. I anticipate that it will be considered among the landmarks in the study of slavery, and will be read by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists--as well as many other scholars and students."

--Stanley Engerman

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674986909
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/15/2018
Edition description: New
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 168,921
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Orlando Patterson is John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University; the author of Freedom in the Making of Western Culture, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and Slavery and Social Death (Harvard); and the editor of The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth (Harvard), for which he was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. His work has been honored by the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association, among others, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as Special Advisor for Social Policy and Development to Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Government of Jamaica.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Constituent Elements of Slavery 1

I The Internal Relations of Slavery

1 The Idiom of Power 17

2 Authority, Alienation, and Social Death 35

3 Honor and Degradation 77

II Slavery as an Institutional Process

4 Enslavement of "Free" Persons 105

5 Enslavement by Birth 132

6 The Acquisition of Slaves 148

7 The Condition of Slavery 172

8 Manumission: Its Meaning and Modes 209

9 The Status of Freed Persons 240

10 Patterns of Manumission 262

III The Dialectics of Slavery

11 The Ultimate Slave 299

12 Slavery as Human Parasitism 334

Appendix A Note on Statistical Methods 345

Appendix B Slaveholding Societies in the Murdock World Sample 350

Appendix C The Large-Scale Slave Systems 353

Notes 365

Index 484

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