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Apartado 4: Mentalidad, alteridad, Multiculturalismo

Tema 4

Norman Simms

Waikato University

Long-Term Traumatic Disorders in Slave Society: The Examples of Sao Tome,

Surinam and Cayenne in the 17th Century.

Normal arguments run that slave-owning societies preferred strong, healthy

young men, rather than children, because of the high mortality rates from

overwork, heat exhaustion in harsh conditions, disease, etc. But for both

slaves and slave-owners the psychological also played a factor: for slaves,

certainly, in terms of uprooting, exile, loss of freedom, separation from

family, beatings, and abuse; so that second and third generation servitude

was marked less by rebellion and longing to return to home than by despair,

listlessness, and internal violence. For slave-owners, not only do we need

to seek reasons for their ability to disassociate or enjoy the pains they

inflict on others, but understandn the consequences on their own children

and granbdchildren. In addition, where children are taken as slaves with

no obvious "use" or financial "gain", other reasons need to be sought, not

least of which sexual and sadistic abuse as an attempt to overcome the need

to confront the moral, social, and domestic consequences of the peculiar

system. In the three colonies mentioned, one of the defining features is

the early relative closure of the societies created; that is, few new

slaves were brought in and few new European migrants arrived, so that the

core of the communities were mixed-race populations, fearful of new-comers,

hostile to metropolitan governments, and suspicious of ecclesiastical

controls.

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