The governmentality of Slavery in Colonial Boston
Dominik Nagl – 2013
This article explores slavery in colonial Boston as a contradictory legal, cultural, and religious institution by introducing the concepts of 'pastoral power and governmentality as analytical instruments to the study of slavery. New England slavery was a culturally specific form of bondage that still rested upon premodern and religious notions of contract. An all pervasive Puritan religious culture and the spatial and social proximity of the slaves and their masters gave New England slavery its unique character and produced a distinct way of slave management that is best described as Puritan governmentality of slavery. In addition it is suggested that the concept of governmentality addresses some of the criticisms leveled against Eugene Genovese's model of slavery as paternalism as it allows for the recognition of resistance as a defining feature of slavery.