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 Foundations of Property 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: 40
Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300
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 instrument: 100% coursework
• 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)
The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
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.
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.
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