What role did civilisation, the enlightenment period and the pursuit of science play in the creation of Slavery and Race Degeneration? * * With reference to at least two text discuss how and why race slavery was utilised and whether it must be interconnected with civilisation itself to exist. Difference and creation of othering to exemplify freedom has existed long before the enlightenment period utilised it as a weapon for economic, political and social power.
Socio-economic benefits outweighed the degeneration and consequence to minority groups through scientific justification silencing their free voice. This essay will analyze how scientific, social, political and economic spheres contributed to race degeneration and race slavery throughout the enlightenment period and industrial revolution. It will, through an emphasis on the dialectic nature of the enlightenment period, argue that this period contrastingly promoted freedom and equality for those deemed socially fit , but also facilitated the paradoxical process of deliberately creating subjugation and ‘othering’ through scientific pursuits.
These scientific pursuits were used as justification mechanisms of ensuring the existence of slave labor for the continuous progression of civilization. The second part of the essay will highlight the codependency between social constructs of free-civilization and the creation of slavery and racism; portraying how both must co-exist and feed off one another to be maintained Through an analysis of theoretical works such as; Jan Pieterse’s ‘’Slavery and abolitionism.
In white on Black, Images of Africa and Blacks in western Popular culture”, Orlando Patterson’s (2004) “Freedom in the Making of Western Culture” and other scholars, by the end of this essay it will become clear that the enlightenment period and the introduction of scientific pursuits such as race science created racist cultures which were then embedded within social constructs. It has been argued by many that without race slavery civilization could not have occurred as effectively or efficiently as it did.
The freedom the enlightenment period promised for those deemed socially fit came at a cost; the discrimination and exploitation of the other. (Pieterse, 1992: 53-63) Freedom for the socially fit at the expense of those considered outsiders is not a concept unique to the enlightenment period and can be traced back to ancient civilisations such as the Greeks and Romans, where although including people from a global scale, both classified outsiders as ‘barbarians’ and incurred a predisposition of prejudice against foreigners.
This highlights the prior existence of the ‘insider outsider’ classification, and the internal tension created by the ‘unknown’ and contrastingly allows for the creation and unity of the ‘US’ (Cooper, 2005). However, in ancient societies there is lacking evidence to prove social divisions, integration and inferiority were based purely on physical, biological characteristics (Snowden, 1983: 73-76).
It is the view of most scholars that both Romans and Greeks distinguished ‘ the others’ through customs, religion and in Greek antiquity through language rather than biological racism (Leerssen, 2006: 207-214 and Snowden, 1983: 63) . Pieterse (1992) argues that although slavery has existed before the Middle Ages, what is unique to the enlightenment period in the 16th and 17th century slavery acquired a colour (pp. 52). Although many scholars confer with Pieterse, Dante Puzzo (1964) argues that race consciousness was manifested in this period, and states there is no debate that ‘racism . . is a modern conception, prior to the sixteenth century there was virtually nothing in the life and thought of the West that can be described as racist” (p. 579). Montagu (1942) harmonizes with this argument stating: “a study of the cultures and literatures of mankind, both ancient and recent, shows us that the conception of natural or biological races of mankind differing from one another mentally as well as physically, is an idea which was not born until the latter part of the eighteenth century” (p. 10-11).
Pieterse (1992) asserts the evolution of race slavery through racist scientific confirmation of ‘othering’ was primarily a byproduct of the political, social and economic desire to enhance civilization’s progress throughout the enlightenment period and industrial revolution. This was due to the fast growing sugar industry in Brazil and West Indies and the agricultural development of cotton picking, and house keeping where insurance of cheap labor was essential for the rapid progression of civilization (p. 52-53). Race science was used as a logical foundation to segregate parts of society (Pieterse, 1992: 53-55).
This scientific construction of outsiders served as a justification mechanism for the continuation of slavery’ to fulfil the growing industrial needs of cost effective workers (ibid). It primarily asserted certain races and ethnicities had predilections and predispositions to certain genetic traits that deciphered either their inferiority or superiority within social constructs. This classification of individuals was used to justify bequeathing certain individuals with negative traits for political or economic advantage through the continuation of slavery (Morgan, 1979: 8-18).
Individuals were classified as either outsiders or insiders enabling or constraining their freedom within social paradigms through a scientific categorization of genetic biological traits. For example skin colour and cranial measurements involving ‘.. The relative height, width and depth of skulls, the resulting ratio giving an index’ (Leerssen, 2006:207). Thus illustrating that science was being moulded by the social, political and economic needs of the nations to ensure success of freedom and equality for exclusive hegemonic participants (Morgan, 1979: 8-18).
Pieterse (1992) highlights the contradiction between banishing slavery as an immoral practice opposing enlightenments promise of freedom and equality and the economic gain that slavery provided through its assistance in the production of colonialism and the socio-economic and civil progression of the enlightenment period. In reality, slavery enriched the ability for countries to make high profits by oppressing groups of people based on ‘othering techniques’ such as race. Economic gain was the central defence of slavery as, ‘without slavery, labour costs would become too high and cultivation would no longer be cost effective’ (p. 9). Therefore, it was justified by many that race science was imperative to ensuring civil progression, and as such racist social culture would regenerate, encouraging the continuation of race slavery for European hegemonic and civil success. * * Holland’s slave history clearly exemplifies economic motivation as an imperative reason for the legitimization of race degradation. Although Holland was once the center of slave trade, by the early 17th century it was declared an ‘odious practice’ (Pieterse, 1992:53-56) and prohibited.
Nevertheless, when trade was enlarged through the industrial revolution, science was utilized as a mechanism of justification and slaves were once again exploited for economic enhancements. Pieterse (1992) uses many examples like this to highlight these enigmatic conflicts between what was considered to be ethical (treating people equally to amplify their freedom through the enlightenment period), and the desire to accumulate endless wealth in order to gain economic power on a global scale. However, this was only achieved by dehumanizing a proportion of society, with black people identified as the primary victims.
Despite laws changing, slavery persisted in Holland, due to the new utilization of religious justifications. This double standard can be seen with new laws stating ‘it is illegal to have Christians as slaves, but slaves may be used by Christians’ (Pieterse, 1992:55). This development of defending slavery on religious grounds can further be seen within the Catholic churches; where slaves were kept in large numbers as domestic servants or workers on sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations, despite the change of moral opinion on a larger social and world scale.
This again emphasizes the economic desires essential for civilization progression and ones power. (Pieterse, 1992:55-58) * It is interesting to note that justifications for slavery such as race science and religious ideology were prone to becoming quickly obsolete, and there was a perpetual quest to find a new justification for the continuation of race slavery. Often, justification mechanisms ended due to the discovery of new evidence; for example black slaves attempted to discover mechanisms of protection against scientific justifications.
Many used religion as a protective mechanism where better standard of life and protection were rewarded for ones ideological belief. Thus illustrating how race was socially and not biologically constructed much like ancient civilizations (Cooper 2005:8-27). The Religious Landscape Survey (2007), found that 79 percent of African-Americans stated religion was still an important aspect in their lives and were statistically at 87 percent the highest group to confess having formal religious affiliations; mostly in the black protestant or Evangelical Protestant churches (Vu, 2009).
This prominence can be argued to have stemmed from past desire for religious protection against politics. This co-dependency theory of civilisation and slavery is further illustrated in South Carolina who in implementing a new law stating ‘ all negroes… mulattoes or mestizos, who are or shall hereafter be in the province and all their issue and offspring, born or to be born, shall be and they are hereby declared to be and remain forever hereafter absolute slaves,” (Pieterse, 1992: 54).
This law not only annulled past fears of slave labour extinction but also confirmed its continuous flow to maintain large profits from slavery and ensures social classes and hierarchies are preserved (ibid). Furthermore, the law condemned children of slaves to a life of slavery demonstrating the cultural, legal and social, moral ethical implications of the time towards peoples of ‘difference’ and enhanced the ability for the continuation of discriminating ‘the others’.
This example highlights how Race science was used as a dehumanizing tool to create ‘othering’ based on unalterable inherent biological characteristics for socio-economic gain. However Pieterse (1992) proclaims it is not the “phenotype that causes racism nor is it colour or ethnicity, it is the relationship between the labelling and the labelled groups” (p. 94), despite scientific attempts of rationalization Initially, Pieterse (1992) quotes ‘European culture has a back and a front, and slavery belongs in the rear, at the service entrance of European civilization’ (p. 3) This invisibility to the public eye was simply another mechanism of psychological validation to slavery, alluding to the notion that what isn’t seen is not a problem. (ibid). This with-standing, he then digresses into an analyses of abolitionism and its argument against the enigmatic allowance of slavery’s continuation throughout the enlightenment period that was supposedly promoting freedom and equality. He proposes the paradoxical result that ‘the abolitionism’ in fact cemented racial views within social constructs through mechanisms such as political propaganda and public degeneration. p. 57-63) * Regardless of the humanization of Africans through abolitionism, the rise of racism was relentless with Pieterse (1992) demonstrating the consistent presence of ‘’Black stereotypes” such as “servants, slaves, entertainers and athletes that were depicted as worthless, of lower class and/or victims”(p. 61) within western society. Such stereotypes include Uncle Tom in the US, Black peter, golliwog; all with similar characteristics of being docile, lower class and of Christian affiliation. (p. 0-62) These characters facilitated racism and racist stereotyping by placing significantly negative attributes of docile, inferiority and victimization to people of darker skin (ibid). These categories Blacks were forcefully endowed with were used by Caucasians as comfort mechanisms that inturn illicit a racist culture. This racism assisted in the continuation of slavery despite its continual criticism, as slavery’s political, economic and social benefits almost guaranteed it impossible to completely reject. Pieterse, 1992: 60-63) He continuously displays the evolution of racism through quotes such as ‘we aren’t for the Negroes, we are for the war’ and ‘slavery is dead the Negro is not, there is the misfortune. For the sake of all parties, would that he were’ (Pieterse, 1992: 61). These illustrate the racist nature that evolved throughout the fight for abolition, condemning people to new racial barriers as old ones were annulled, giving them freedoms within a restricted frame of lifestyle that is still continued today (ibid).
Nationalism became an opposing force and a propaganda tool manipulated by governments to validate state hegemonism again creating ‘US and the other’. This was achieved through the discourse of genetic-biological regulation and degeneration through science and had large socio-economic and political implications (Morgan, 1979: 8-16 and Pieterse 1992:58) Perceived scientific differences were used as political justification mechanisms to either unite or discriminate against certain groups by encouraging civilian participation of nationalism for mass murders, suppression and slavery.
This is evident in the Shoa lead by Adolf Hitler in World War 2 where he used nationalism and race science as a justification for his brutality, slavery and hatred of any individual that did not fit into his ideal hegemonic Arian race (Thompson, 2011: 6 and Bauman 1989). Thus Pieterse (1992) believes are confirmed that Race Slavery was originally scientifically legitimized due to its political and economic benefits and assistant in the accumulation of capital within European colonizes. It enabled the progression of the industrial revolution, and enlightenment era through economic growth and social alliances.
However through abolitionism, racism was created and is now so deeply socially embedded, that even with the invalidity of race science, elimination of racism is almost impossible. Thus abolitionism infact strengthened the continuation of race slavery rather than eliminating it (Pieterse: 1992). Similar to Pieterse, Ignatiev (2009) takes social approach to racial oppression by suggesting that The outsider considered as a threat allows individuals to define who they are and unify social soladarity’ (p. 4- 37, 51-59) as free. Thus feelings of freedom are only achievable through the domination of the other through science, which assisted in the victimization of ‘inferior people’ based on their incurable genetic biology (ibid). Many scholars including Patterson agree with Pieterse ideology of race science being utilised as a justification mechanism for biological degeneration within a social, political construct for beneficial gain. However Patterson (1991) focuses on the meaning of freedom that was promoted throughout the nlightenment period to illustrate the co-dependency and dialectic relationship between race slavery and civilisation. Therefore, highlighting how various social, political and economic influences inspired slavery’s’ continuation (p. 9-19). Patterson (1991) emphasises freedom as a ‘tripartite value’ that encompasses many meanings categorised into three classifications; personal, Sovereignal and civic freedoms. Understanding all 3 are imperative for understanding true freedom values (p. 3).
Footnote of definition of all three It was not until the enlightenment period in response to new race slavery institution that the 3 types of freedom gained importance. However evidence suggests ancient society such Rome and Greece used slaves and through comparing oneself to the ‘other- enslaved’ allowed for the basic understanding of freedom. One always had hope of freedom either from buying it or from their owners, this was eliminated with the introduction of race science throughout the enlightenment period.
It must be considered that Roman slaves, once freed were endowed with the ability to transgress between social classes with many becoming craftsmen and business operatives (ibid) However race slaves throughout the industrial revolution and beyond; due to limited education and social standing were not as free to transgress within societal functions (Snowden, 1983). Critiques were made against Patterson’s emphasis on the unification of his three categories, stating that separation of all 3 enhances ones ability to determine true meanings of freedom without facing contradiction as when observed together.
Thus elaborating the ‘bitter and confusing struggles between individuals and the state’ rather than a march to liberty as Patterson suggests (Bandow, 1992). * * Albeit some of his ideas are highly important and must be recognised (Patterson, 1991, p. 1-6). Patterson’s emphasis on the social construction of the ‘ Tripartite freedom’ even in hunter-gatherer tribes and especially his account of Sovereignal freedom highlights the interconnected between civilisation and how slavery was imperative for the creation of feelings of freedom throughout the enlightenment period. Without those whose suppression nspired yearnings for freedom, those ‘free’ would be unable to compare their lives to those enslaved and the value of freedom would be lost Patterson, 1991: 10-19). Thus slavery enabled comparison between concepts of ‘free men’ to those enslaved, which was at the core of the enlightenment itself. * Patterson’s evaluation like Pieterse (1992) and Ignatiev (2009) includes the socially constructed theory of ‘othering’, where he implies the manifestation of Civic freedom in the Tupinamba tribe suggests slaves became symbolic ‘cultural money’ within customs and social exchange.
Slaves were ‘living expressions the value of freedom’ allowing each groups to define ‘US’ and the outsider through the ‘consumption of the hated other’ (Patterson, 1991: 17). * Importantly, Patterson’s continuous comparison of civic freedom and slavery emphasizes how political configurations can be used as mechanisms to justify the legalities of mass slave-labour, whilst also enabling that the social construction of valuing ones freedom. Thus Bandow agrees with the dialectic coexistence between race slavery and civilization, which I propose (Bandow 1992 ctd. in 2012).
Patterson (1991) quotes “Freedom is a value learned in struggle, fear and hope” (p. 2), with both scholars associating slavery with the creation of freedom and dialectically the enlightenment period at the core of race slavery. Many scholars correspondingly suggested although freedom is an intrinsic quality it must be socially composed as ‘value’ before it is significant, resembling Patterson (1991) links between different interpretations of his ‘triad’ illustrating social constructions of freedom and therefore of racism and slavery itself (Thompson, 2011: 6-9).
Both Thompson (2011) and Patterson (1991) emphasise how the meaning of freedom has evolved throughout history, suggesting that the interplay between social, political and economic constructs has significantly influenced values of freedom and therefore the opposite, slavery (p. 2). Patterson (1991) further exposes that slavery spawned ideas that ‘freedom was socially constructed- not discovered, for it was an invented value’ (p. 3) at times of struggles; especially concerning relationship between salves and their masters and other free peoples (ibid).
His evaluation of history illustrates although civic freedom can fundamentally exist political democracy is uncertain Patterson’s evaluation of various interpretations of Civic freedom and the progression of both other categories world-wide confirms the cultural, political and social-economic influences on the construction of freedom and race slavery itself (p. 4-5). For example Civic freedom hasn’t transgressed equally to all countries with many still endowed with limited rights to participate in social life and legal politics (Patterson, 1991: 5).
In the western world laws are enforced for standard minimum wage and safe work environment as a right of freedom to labourers. Yet it can be argued within this capitalist society and yearning for economic growth much like the industrial revolution, the east is again being forced into cheap, unsafe labour. It is now not a matter of scientific degeneration like the enlightenment period but out of sheer economic desperation for survival.
Foxconn in China is one of many examples which pay workers less than $1 a day and are exposed to unsafe, unhygienic work and living environments as a mechanism for Apple to gain capital efficiently. There has been 8 suicides there in the last 2 years as workers were said to ‘feel trapped between socio-economic need and political injustice and inability to offer protection (Moore, 20012) * * Despite the various interpretations or separation of the ‘triad of freedom’ within western societies, Patterson’s denouncement to social constructs of freedom and therefore race slavery for economic gains are still supported.
Most scholars agree suggesting social paradigms of freedom are needed to elucidate its value, with slavery stemming the desire to define and investigate its meaning (Bandow, 1992 cited. 2012 and Patterson, 1991: 9-19). Williams (1994) agrees with both Patterson and Jan that freedom and race are socially constructed. He elaborates explaining that throughout the enlightenment period the focus on genetic biological differences were not utilised due to the critical determinants of disease patterns and biological inferiority, but because skin colour and race in fact determined ‘ones ocial identity and obligations ‘within a social construct (pp. 28). Thus it can be stated that Race science was socially constructed and used as a justification mechanism for race slavery to ensure both the continuation of feelings of freedom and economic gain throughout the enlightenment period (p. 26-32) In conclusion the analyse of both Pietrse (1992) and Patterson (1991) elucidates that throughout the enlightenment period, race science was used as a justification mechanism for slavery to acquire a colour.
This was due to the consensus that socio-economic and political advantages outweighed the negative affects of the degeneration of minority groups and infact assisted the speedy progression of civilisation. This science was utilised to socially construct the fear and hatred of ‘the other’, not only ensuring the continuous flow of slave labour in a time where economic efficiency was needed to gain power, but also engrained a racist culture among social constructs throughout abolitionism (Pietrse 1992). Further the co-dependency between the enlightenment periods’ promise of freedom and equality and race slavery itself has been clearly supported.
Civilisation could not have progressed as rapidly as it did without the discrimination and exploitation of ‘the other’. (REF) As Patterson states, despite differing interpretations of freedom, without the comparison to those enslaved one may have not grasped the true meaning or value of freedom (Patterson 1991). The dialectic nature of the enlightenment period created a race slave labour through othering that in turn assisted with the speedy transition throughout the industrial revolution Lastly it must not be forgotten that freedom is socially constructed.
The reason race slavery was accepted throughout the enlightenment period was due to the economic benefits and the upkeep of social Homogony through scientific justification. As history evolved through international channels slaves were able to expose the ethical, social and political consequences as outweighing the benefits and slavery was eventually disbanded’. However, through capitalist new socio-economic and political constructs further research must be done into new types of freedom and slavery in the form of exploitation of third world countries for economic gain occurring transnationally.
Freedom is agreed to be socially constructed I propose that although race science has been annulled different socio-economic spheres will invent new rationalisation for the continuation of different forms of slavery. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bandow, D. (1992). “Book Review: Freedom: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture”. Retrieved September 26, 2012 from Foundation for economic Education: http://www. thefreemanonline. org/book-reviews/book-review-freedom-freedom-in-the-making-of-western-culture-by-orlando-patterson-2 Bauman, Z.? (1989). ‘Modernity, Racism and Extermination, in: Modernity and the Holocaust’. pp. 61-83) Cooper, J. L. (2005). ‘The Psychology behind Race Segregation and Othering: A day in the life of an African American’, (pp. 43-89). Sydney: University Scholars press Leerssen. Joep. (2006) ‘A national thought in Europe: a cultural history’ (pp. 204-224) Amsterdam: university press Montagu. M. F. Ashley. (1942). Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. New York: Columbia University Press. Moore. M. (2012, January 11). ‘’Mass suicide’ protest at Apple manufacturer Foxconn factory’. UK Telegraph. Retrieved 24/10/2012 from http://www. telegraph. co. k/journalists/malcolm-moore/ Morgan. Edmund S. (1979). “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox. ” The Journal of American History, 59. no. 1: 5-29 Nederveen Pieterse, J.? (1992). ‘Slavery and abolitionism. In White on black. Images of Africa and blacks in Western popular culture’ (pp. 52-63). New Haven/London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-05020-8. Patterson, O. (1991). “”Freedom in the Making of Western Culture”. (Vol. 1, pp. 1-19). London: I. B. Tauris & CoLtd. Puzzo. Dante. (1964). “Racism and the Western Tradition. “Journal of the History of Ideas, 25, no. , 579-586. Snowden, Frank M. , Jr. ( 1983) Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Thompson, S. (2011). “Freedom. Social Implications and ramifications of Universal Human rights” (Vol. 2, pp. 61-85). Melbourne, Australia: The Text Publishing Company Pty. Ltd. Vu. M. A. (2009, February 2). ‘African-Americans Most Religiously Devout Group’. London: Christian Post Williams, David R. , Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, and Rueben C. Warren. (1994). “The Concept of Race and Health Status in America. “Public Health Reports, 109, no. 1, 26-41. ——————————————- [ 1 ]. mostly free rational white males attempting to main their hegemonic political, economic and social power. [ 2 ]. As stated in my mid term essay here are the definitions of all 3 catergories of freedom: ‘Personal freedom’ can be defined as both negative and positive. It gives persons feelings of ‘not being coerced or restrained’ by another to participate in something ‘one desires’ (Patterson, 1991: 3), while juxtaposingly proposes that ‘one can do as one pleases within the limits of other person’s desires to do the same’ (ibid). Sovereignal freedom’ is‘simply the power to act as one pleases’ despite others preferences, i. e political leaders operating without restriction (ibid). Lastly ‘Civic Freedom’ is the ability for adult members of communities to participate in its life and governance’, usually defining their rigths and obligations to legal and political spheres (Patterson, 1991, pp. 4). [ 3 ]. The assimilation between personal, Sovereignal and civic freedom as crucial to understanding the meaning of freedom (Patterson 1991: 10-19)