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Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

What Slaveholders Think

How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize what They Do

Columbia University Press 2017

New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network October 17, 2018 Felipe G. Santos

According to the Walk Free Foundation, there are currently 46 million slaves in the world. Despite being against international law, slavery is not yet...

According to the Walk Free Foundation, there are currently 46 million slaves in the world. Despite being against international law, slavery is not yet culturally condemned everywhere. Despite being human rights violators, many perpetrators are respected members of their communities. In his new book, What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize what They Do (Columbia University Press, 2017), Professor Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, from the University of San Diego and the University of Nottingham, explores how slaveholders rationalize what they do and how they deal with the social changes that confront the status quo from which they benefit.

Looking from the lenses of social movement theories, Professor Choi-Fitzpatrick, interviews slaveholders on how they feel about being targets of contention and how they react to it. In this way, he provides an original contribution both to social movement and antislavery studies. From a social movement perspective, he emphasizes the behavior of social movement targets and how they interact with challengers. Additionally, he proposes innovative ways to understand and confront slavery.


Felipe G. Santos is a PhD candidate at the Central European University and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of California, Irvine. His research is focused on how activists care for each other and how care practices within social movements mobilize and radicalize heavily aggrieved collectives.