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Understanding Human Dignity$
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Christopher McCrudden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265642

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 23 September 2019

Dignité/Dignidade: Organizing against Threats to Dignity in Societies after Slavery

Dignité/Dignidade: Organizing against Threats to Dignity in Societies after Slavery

Chapter:
(p.61) 2 Dignité/Dignidade: Organizing against Threats to Dignity in Societies after Slavery
Source:
Understanding Human Dignity
Author(s):

Rebecca J. Scott

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.003.0002

Examining Reconstruction-era campaigns for equal rights and twenty-first-century struggles against contemporary slavery, this essay explores the institution of slavery and the giving of meanings to the concept of dignity. In both instances, activists portray slavery as a paradigmatic violation of human dignity. In Louisiana between 1862 and the 1890s, equal-rights campaigners invoked practices associated with slavery in order to portray racial segregation as an affront to dignity. In Brazil two hundred years later, prosecutors document ‘humiliating and degrading labour’ practices under the rubric of ‘labour analogous to that of slavery’, thus triggering legal protection of workers’ constitutionally-guaranteed right to dignity. The causation goes in opposite directions in the two cases, but the terms ‘slavery’ and ‘dignity’ continue to give meaning to the other, making it possible to characterize the specific wrong in question.

Keywords:   slavery, public rights, dignity, Louisiana, Brazil, contemporary slavery

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