Advanced Topics in Property Law: the politics of ownership - LW609

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15) PROF HP Carr


LW316/LW5316 or LW324 Foundations of Property and LW599 Land Law as a pre/co-requisite.





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 LW316/LW416, Foundations of Property in Stage 1 and, LW599 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.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

40 hours of combined lecture and seminar.

Method of assessment

100% coursework consisting of a research paper of 4000 words for 50% and an oral presentation for 50%.

Preliminary reading

Preliminary Viewing - La Terre Parle Arabe, 2007, Dir M. Gargour.
Preliminary Viewing - The Truman Show, 1998, Dir P Wier.
Preliminary Viewing – Holy Motors, 2012, Dir L Carax.
J Brewer and S Staves (eds), Early Modern Conceptions of Property, 1996, London: Routledge.
R McQueen, A Social History of Company Law, 2009, London: Ashgate.
M Callon (ed), Laws of the Market, 1998, Oxford: Blackwells.
N Blomley, Unsettling the City, 2004, London: Taylor and Francis.
M Davies, Property: Meanings, Histories, Theories, 2007, London: Glasshouse.
C Dickens, Bleak House (1854)
H Lim and A Bottomley (eds), Feminist Perspectives on Land Law, 2007, London: Glasshouse.
C Rose ,Property and Persuasion: Essays on the History, Theory and Rhetoric of Ownership, 1994, Bolder, California: Westview Press.
T Murphy et al ,Understanding Property Law, 2004, London: Sweet and Maxwell.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

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.

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