Slavery and Social Death

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, Mar 15, 1985 - Social Science - 527 pages
This is the first full-scale comparative study of the nature of slavery. 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. Slavery is shown to he a parasitic relationship between master and slave, invariably entailing the violent domination of a natally alienated, or socially dead, person. The phenomenon of slavery as an institution, the author argues. is a single process of recruitment, incorporation on the margin of society, and eventual manumission or death.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study

User Review  - Jon Panofsky - Goodreads

The only reason that I am giving this book 3 stars and no lower, is because it IS the standard work on the subject. While very informative, this book is dreadfully tough to get through. Patterson's ... Read full review


The Idiom of Power
Authority Alienation
Enslavement of Free Persons
Enslavement by Birth
Its Meaning andModes
Patterns of Manumission
Note on StatisticalMethods Appendix B Slaveholding Societies in the Murdock World Sample

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information