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For more than three hundred years, the American South was essentially a plantation society, in which the plantation system penetrated all aspects of social, cultural, economic, and political life. During this period, plantation slavery evolved into the key institutional component of Southern society and played an integral role in its development. This interdisciplinary collection of essays provides a sociological framework for the interpretation of historical data on plantation slavery by addressing different questions concerning four broad areas of research--theoretical perspectives; social institutions; race, gender, and social inequality; and social change and social transformations. The contributors depict slave plantations as organized social systems that contributed significantly to the racial stratification of the Southern plantation society, and in this way served as the origin of contemporary race relations and social inequality in America.
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