Contested Property Claims

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Property relations are such a common feature of social life that the complexity of the web of laws, practices, and ideas that allow a property regime to function smoothly are often forgotten. But we are quickly reminded of this complexity when conflict over property erupts. When social actors confront a property regime – for example by squatting – they enact what can be called ‘contested property claims’. As this book demonstrates, these confrontations raise crucial issues of social justice and show the ways in which property conflicts often reflect wider social conflicts. Through a series of case studies from across the globe, this multidisciplinary anthology brings together works from anthropologists, legal scholars, and geographers, who show how exploring contested property claims offers a privileged window onto how property regimes function, as well as an illustration of the many ways that the institution of property shapes power relationships today.

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Property relations are such a common feature of social life that the complexity of the web of laws, practices, and ideas that allow a property regime to function smoothly are often forgotten. But we are quickly reminded of this complexity when conflict over property erupts. When social actors confront a property regime – for example by squatting – they enact what can be called ‘contested property claims’. As this book demonstrates, these confrontations raise crucial issues of social justice and show the ways in which property conflicts often reflect wider social conflicts. Through a series of case studies from across the globe, this multidisciplinary anthology brings together works from anthropologists, legal scholars, and geographers, who show how exploring contested property claims offers a privileged window onto how property regimes function, as well as an illustration of the many ways that the institution of property shapes power relationships today.

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