Abolitionist anti-politics? Capitalism, coercion and the modern anti-slavery movement

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

6 Citations (SciVal)


Although extremes of labour exploitation are part of capitalism, mainstream political discourse positions them outside the capitalist system, as ‘slavery’, ‘trafficking’ or ‘forced labour’. This discourse reinforces capitalist hegemony, since it shields capitalism from legitimate critique regarding both its moral failings and its inherent contradictions. By buying into and re-producing that discourse, the modern abolitionist movement unwittingly plays a hegemonic role in the defence of capitalist social relations. Unless modern abolitionists wish merely to serve the forces they should be opposing, they need to advocate policies with genuinely emancipatory potential, such as the Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). If they do so, they have the capacity to play a radical role in the promotion of global social justice, rather than defending the status quo.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRevisiting Slavery and Antislavery
Subtitle of host publicationTowards a Critical Analysis
EditorsL. Brace, J. O'Connell Davidson
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319906232
ISBN (Print)9783319906225
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018


  • Anti-politics
  • Capitalist hegemony
  • Modern abolition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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