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    Subversive property: reshaping malleable spaces of belonging

    Keenan, Sarah (2010) Subversive property: reshaping malleable spaces of belonging. Social & Legal Studies 19 (4), pp. 423-439. ISSN 0964-6639.

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    Despite a wide field of scholarship critiquing the idea and workings of property, most understandings still centre on the propertied subject. This article spatializes property in order to shift the focus away from the propertied subject and onto the broader networks of relations that interact to form property. It draws on critical geography, phenomenology and empirical socio-legal work to argue that property can be understood as a relationship of belonging that is held up by the surrounding space — a relationship that is not fixed or essential but temporally and spatially contingent. Building on Davina Cooper’s analysis of ‘property practices’, I argue that when analysed spatially, the two types of belonging she discusses — belonging between a subject and an object and between a part and a whole — become indistinguishable. As such, characteristics generally associated with identity politics can be understood as property in the same way that owning an object can — in terms of belonging in space. This spatialized understanding shows the breadth of property’s political potential. Although property tends to be (re)productive of the status quo, it can also be subversive. Property can unsettle spaces too.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): belonging, place, property, space, subversion, unsettling, whiteness
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Sarah Keenan
    Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2015 10:24
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:17


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