Slavery and the Human Right to Evil

Kevin Bales

in Understanding Global Slavery

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520245068
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932074 | DOI:
Slavery and the Human Right to Evil

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The very act of slavery may be perceived as evil or not evil by both slaveholders and slaves. This chapter explores how our definitions of human rights are bound up with our ideas about evil. It demonstrates how acts move through a process of being redefined as evil, and how that attribution of evil then leads to a privileging of victims' perspectives. Those perspectives undergo a further process of codification, ultimately emerging as “human rights.” To understand this process better, we can turn to modern slavery for examples.

Keywords: human rights; evil; modern slavery

Chapter.  6734 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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