Sociology Index


Slavery describes a relationship between people in which one person is not legally free but is treated as the legally owned property of the other. Slaves could be sold or exchanged in the times when it was very much in practice. Slave relationships have been found in many parts of the world and have sometimes been the central economic relationships of the society. As legal property of their owners, slaves can be forced to produce goods or services whose value remains with the owner.

Paul and the Background of Slavery: The Status Quaestionis in New Testament Scholarship 
John Byron, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, USA 
Currents in Biblical Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 116-139 (2004)
Over the last thirty years studies of slavery in the Pauline Epistles have tended to follow two different methodological approaches.

Some have considered slavery in Paul based on legal definitions while others have gravitated towards sociological definitions. While some have portrayed Greco-Roman slavery as an almost benevolent institution, others have preferred to highlight its more brutal aspects. This article traces the major shifts in New Testament scholarship and how these two contrasting definitions have helped to shape our understanding of Paul and slavery. It concludes with a brief examination of four areas that New Testament scholarship has begun to reconsider as a result of these sifting opinions about Greco-Roman slavery.

Slavery, Emancipation, and Class Formation in Colonial and Early National New York City 
Leslie M. Harris, Emory University 
Journal of Urban History, Vol. 30, No. 3, 339-359 (2004)
This article explores the centrality of slave labor and race to the development of class relations in colonial and early national New York City. Slave labor was central to New York’s colonial economy and to the survival of Europeans on the island—no part of the colonial North relied more heavily on slavery than Manhattan. This article will also discuss the lengthy process of emancipation in the city and state. From the time of the Revolutionary War, New Yorkers debated ending slavery, but it took almost fifty years for them to eradicate the institution completely. The legacy of slavery limited the political and economic equality of blacks long after slavery ended in New York.

Narrativizing Oppression and Suffering: Theorizing Slavery 
Sanal Mohan, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, India. 
South Asia Research, Vol. 26, No. 1, 5-40 (2006)
This article analyses the particular process by which memories of the slave experience of Pulayas, Parayas and similar castes are kept alive in contemporary Kerala by followers of the Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha, a social and religious movement of Dalits started in 1909–10 by Poyikayil Yohannan in central Travancore. The article shows how, over time, the Christian orientation of the movement was modified by its Dalit leaders, making intricate use of re-memorizing the slave experience. The outcome is that new myths and concepts were developed, evolving into new practices and discourses, including prominently the narrativization of oppression and suffering and rememory of slavery as part of initiation rituals into the movement.

Three Stages in the Evolution of Slavery in Precivilized Societies
Edgar Bowden - Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 8, No. 2, 111-121 (1973)
Analysis of a small sample of cross-cultural data suggests that slavery evolves through three stages in precivilized societies. At first, slaves are mainly war captives from other societies and serve primarily to symbolize the dominance of the victor over the vanquished: their economic func tion is minimal. Second, the importance of "dominance slavery" declines as the locus of the dominance struggle shifts to some extent from between to within societies, developing on a larger scale with a diversified struc ture and hierarchy. Finally, economic power becomes stratified until poverty forces an increasing proportion of the population into "economic slavery," the purpose of which is primarily productive exploitation, and which is ultimately codified in law along with other economic and au thority relationships in higher precivilized societies.