Advanced Topics in Property Law: the politics of ownership - LAWS6090

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


This module moves away from the focus of traditional property law modules to look at property in its many different contemporary forms, exploring the nature of property as a legal institution and its economic, political and cultural importance in a variety of contexts. It will seek to question the common sense understandings of property as privately owned 'things' in relation to which the role of law is essentially passive and protective. This module builds on the subject matter covered in both LAWS3160 Introduction to Property Law in Stage 1 and LAWS5990 Land Law in Stage 2. This module will explore the active, constructive and political role of law in actually constituting property and property rights. One of the module's themes will be the complex relationship between property and power. During the course of the module, in a series of case studies and theoretical readings, a wide range of different topics in which issues of property and property rights are central will be examined: from the issues surrounding corporate rights and power to land rights (especially in the colonial context); from the construction and protection of property rights to those surrounding housing and access to housing. The module will also explore the cultural dimension of property and examine the role played by property and property rights in the recent financial crisis.


Contact hours

Contact Hours: 40
Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300


All single and joint honours law programmes

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework as follows;
1. An oral presentation (50%)
2. A research paper (4000 words) – (50%)

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

• Alexander, Gregory S, Penalver Eduardo M An introduction to Property Theory ( Cambridge University Press 2012)
• Callon, Michel eds., Laws of the Market (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998)
• Davies, Margaret, Property: Meanings, Histories, Theories (Oxford Routledge Cavendish 2010)
• Maurer, Bill and Gabrielle Schwab eds., Accelerating Possession: Global Futures of Property and Personhood (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006)
• Pottage, Alain, "The Measure of Land" in Modern Law Review, 1994, Vol 57, p361
• Rose, Carol Property and Persuasion: Essays on the History, Theory and Rhetoric of Ownership Colorado Westview Press, 1994)
• Strathern, Marilyn Kinship, Law and the Unexpected: Relatives are Always a Surprise (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.

Students will

1. Demonstrate a deep understanding of property law by examining various theoretical understandings of what constitutes ownership and
justifies property rights
2. Demonstrate an awareness of, and sensitivity to, the economic, political and/or social implications that arise from differently constituted
ownership practices in local, national and international contexts
3. Critically analyse property as a juridical relation and institution, which can be contested, challenged, and remade
4. Critically evaluate current debates over property rights, access to housing, and land rights within different historical, socio-economic,
geographical, jurisdictional and theoretical contexts
5. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of key texts in the field of property law and theories of ownership.
6. Articulate a sound theoretical and practical understanding of key legal/political debates and issues in the UK and elsewhere.

The intended generic learning outcomes.

Students will

1. Apply critical methods for understanding and evaluating legal knowledge in specific situations. Undertake guided and independent legal
research by taking into account a variety of sources of information.
2. Research carefully and efficiently using both legal and non-legal texts.
3. Demonstrate argumentation skills.
4. Engage critically with legal and non-legal sources.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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