Contextualising slavery : a framework for understanding the relationship between the enslaver and the enslaved

Boyd, Zhaleh Bahiyyih

Slavery; History
July 2016

Thesis or dissertation

© 2016 Zhaleh Bahiyyih Boyd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Current anti-slavery policies and interventions are overwhelmingly focused on slavery as a financial endeavour strictly for economic ease or gain; however, cases in which enslavers invest time, money and other resources into obtaining and maintaining a slave without receiving a financial return on this investment provides that a more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon of slavery is necessary.

How do we understand the contextualised logic and philosophical political economy of slavery? By surveying statements, confessions, testimonies and other documentation that relates the experiences of both traffickers and survivors, I investigate whether or not the following framework for categorising slavery relationships by motivational context is accurate, as well as to discover trends and tendencies between each type and influencing factors, such as culture, gender, nationality, socio-economic status, ethnicity, age, religion and creed.

What perceived benefits, besides financial gain, motivate a human being to not only desire complete control and/or commoditisation of another human being, but to act upon this desire? In researching this, I investigate sociological theories by Georg Hegel and Pierre Bourdieu. My question comes from an interest in the motivation for both the enslaver and the enslaved to enter into a relationship with each other, how the two perceive the other and the self during the relationship, and how those perceptions might shift once the contact is severed.

WISE, The University of Hull
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