Property is without doubt the most powerful and the most opaque institution of modernity. Its ever-changing manifestations continually adapt to and support the great transformations of production systems, commercial trade, environments and social structures. Over the past two centuries, it has been perceived as one pillar of our social, economic and political order – yet we barely understand it.
Much remains to be done to grasp the complex and changing social forms that structure modes of appropriation in human communities. This special issue sets out to contribute to these endeavours by looking at property in two ways. Our objective, first, is to consider what happens to property in situations where an existing or imminent disaster is faced; and, second, to observe what kind of property relations become visible, in these situations, beyond property understood solely as a centralised institution overseen by the state.
Our method is to probe the inner workings of property through a crash test. Here disasters, whether ‘natural’, ‘industrial’ or ‘ecological’ are perceived as the outpouring of energy required to disrupt the cold and smooth forms of property, test its resilience and measure its ability to reconfigure the real world.
In return, we hope that this approach, through a series of empirical cases, will provide the readers with new insights into disaster- related situations, their dynamics and how they develop over time: same crash test but different readings.(more)
Private Property and the Defiance of Natural Limits. Coastal Flooding in the United States' Largest City
Disasters: A Crash Test for Property
Marc Elie & Fabien Locher
Discipline and Drain: Settling the Moving Bengal Delta
Property Rights that 'Work' in the Face of Disaster: Per Share Joint Ownership of Arable in Early Modern and Modern Japan
Ontologies of Property: Land Titling after the Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster
Reforming Mineral Ownership and Ensuring Surface Owners' Rights: The Gosselies Disaster
Mitigating Disaster: The Aral Sea and (Post-)Soviet Property
How a Neighbourhood Asserted Its Right to Survive, 1945-1997
Julia Burtin Zortea
Environmental History and the Concept of Agency: Improving Understanding of Local Conditions and Adaptations to Climate Change in Seven Coastal Communities
Gregory Kennedy; Mélanie Raimonet; Matthew Berman; Ndickou Gaye; Jean-Michel Huctin; Thomson Kaleekal; Jean-Paul Vanderlinden
The Memory of the 1980 Earthquake and Its Aftermath in Irpinia (Southern Italy): Two Case-Studies
Gabriele Ivo Moscaritolo