Slavery and Modern Slavery (SMS) Study Group


This study group on ‘Slavery and Modern Slavery' (SMS) aims to promote exchange and a critical interrogation of ‘modern slavery’ in order to better understand how the afterlives of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism shape the lives of marginalised groups that often appear in dominant discourse as at risk of ‘modern slavery’.

 The SMS Study Group is convened by UK-based sociologists from global south countries and hopes to facilitate dialogue between global south and UK based scholars, and in particular to provide an intellectual space in which to:

  1. develop a critique of 'the new abolitionism';
  2. foster critical and nuanced research on the phenomena dubbed 'modern slavery’, including but not limited to “trafficking”, “forced labour”, “debt bondage”, “worst forms of child labour”, “sexual exploitation”, “forced criminal activities”;
  3. encourage attention to the extensive and forcible restraints on freedom that are sanctioned by liberal democratic states and so stand outside dominant discourse on 'modern slavery' (e.g., through immigration detention, immigration controls, workfare, prison industrial complex, etc.);
  4. explore the relevance of scholarship and debates on the afterlives of slavery and colonialism for all of the above.


The group will organise reading sessions, conferences, roundtables, paper feedback sessions and talks by relevant book scholars. You do not have to be a BSA member to join the group.  Subscribe to our email announcement list.


Angelo Martins Junior, University of Birmingham - 

Pankhuri Agarwal, University of Bath –

Samuel Okyere, University of Bristol –