What is property?

Mittwoch, 20.03.2024

When I was little, I went to school and I learned what was mine and what was yours. And when it was all learned, it seemed to me that it was not all. Berthold Brecht 1930: The Song of the Class Enemy This seminar attempts a 'critique of property' from the perspective of legal anthropology. We will examine how concepts of property shape social relations and our relationship to the world far beyond processes of transfer and exchange, and how concepts of property relate to political orders. The seminar explores the question "What is property" in two ways. First, we ask what the concept of property means and can mean, i.e. how property is conceived in terms of law: do we currently observe a (de facto) narrowing to an understanding of private property as complete power of disposal? Are there alternative and more differentiated concepts of property? What are the alternatives to property? What does property have to do with freedom? To what extent, when and where do obligations, e.g. social and ecological responsibility, arise from holding property? When and how can 'expropriation' take place? Secondly, we deal with the question of which current processes of propertization we observe in which 'things' become (private) property: Traditions, rights, knowledge or local or global commons. And subsequently: which justifications and legal forms of propertization, appropriation and expropriation do we currently observe? How are limits to propertization and privatisation justified, or how are such limits extended to open up new fields to propertization? Based on the discussion on concepts of property, all seminar participants will choose one such process in which new property claims are currently being asserted, or in which precisely such claims are being contested in favour of other forms of rights of use, be it with regard to property in real estate and land, intellectual property, common goods such as water and air, human body parts and substances, or cultural traditions, and develop an analysis which they will present in the seminar.

Dozierende(r): Prof. Julia Eckert
20.03.2024:10:15 - 12:00
Ort:2. Etage, S221 am Institut für Sozialanthropologie
Lerchenweg 36

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