"[L]aw itself requires the construction of a constitutive outside with reference to, and against which, it sets itself apart. And violence is integral to this construction...Arguably, law is possible only to the extent that it has such an outside against which to define itself. That constitutive outside is at once radically set apart and deeply embedded within law."
"Similarly, the very existence of that deemed property has long relied upon a distinction to a domain of nonproperty. Inside the frontier lie secure tenure, fee-
simple ownership,and state-guaranteed rights to property.
Outside lie uncertain and undeveloped entitlements,
communal claims, and the absence of state guarantees to
"As Neil Smith (1996) has so powerfully documented,
the frontier metaphor also remains important to property
and its politics in the West, as the inner city becomes
discursively constituted as an urban wilderness of savagery
and chaos, awaiting the urban homesteaders who can
forge a renaissance of hope and civility."
Getting into Germane To Portland territory now:
"Several tropes seem to reoccur, the effect of which is to
mark out a frontier between positive forms of property and
its antithesis,embodied by the indigent, the homeless, and
the renter. Indeed, the poor are, if anything, imagined as a threat to property, not only because of their assumed complicity in property crime but also because, by their presence, they destabilize property values, both economically and culturally."
Now they're going in on 16th century mapmaking:
"Western modes of seeing
serve to present the world as set before and logically prior
to a disembodied viewer. The effect...is to ‘‘enframe’’ an a priori world of objects. The abstract space of the survey helps make a world that exists, not as a set of social practices, but as a binary order: individuals and their
practices set against an inert structure."
This whole section is fascinating to me. I had no idea that there was such strong pushback against the dismantling of "the commons", to the tune of 500-1000 executions a year for property crimes (eg: tearing down fences and hedges, but also continuing to keep a portion of grain for the thresher, gathering kindling on "private" land).
"The survey helped facilitate a conceptual emptying of space. Territoriality conceptually separates a bounded space from the things and relations that inform it, thus imagining the space as a purely abstract and empty site that has meaning only in terms of the logic of private
property. In what amounted to a remarkable form of ‘‘anticonquest’’ (Pratt 1992), a native space -- dense with
meanings, stories, and tenurial relations -- could thus be
conceptually remapped as vacant land."
"[P]roperty is fundamentally
concerned with legally defined and policed relations between individuals. At its core, property entails the legitimate act of expulsion, devolved to the state. The textbook definition of property as the right to exclude, like the definition of the state as that which has the legitimate monopoly of violence, is usually hurried over by scholars of property."
I have a somewhat irrational, deep aversion to leaving our exterior doors unlocked overnight, so: Big Mood.
"The environment of the everyday is, of course, propertied, divided into both thine and mine and more generally into public and private domains, all of which depend upon and presuppose the internalization of subtle and diverse property rules that enjoin comportment, movement, and action. Nudity in one’s home is allowed; sex in the street is indecent."
"In simply walking down the street, we teach children to obey the spatial cues that mark property; as any parent will acknowledge, small children are inherently disrespectful of these subtle boundaries. Mariana Valverde (1996) draws on the construction of the child as
illustrative of the contradiction within liberalism between autonomy and the subjects’ lack of capacities for autonomous rule."
"Productivity" culture in a nutshell:
"Illiberal means can achieve liberal ends, Valverde argues, through a form of ‘‘self-despotism’’ captured in the notion of ‘‘habit,’’ which presupposes that ‘‘doing things in a certain way repeatedly and
routinely, until that way of doing things becomes ‘second
nature,’ eventually creates a positive desire for the very
activities and schedules we were forced to follow as children or we forced ourselves to follow as adults’’"
Stand Your Ground laws, etc.
"The grid clearly [makes] possible a capitalist
market in parcels of land and [facilitates] the creation of
the boundaries that are so vital to a liberal legal regime.
But again, the grid has a more complicated place in a
regime of property. A territorialization of property serves to displace attention from the violences between social
subjects to the territory itself. Thus, a defense of property
relations becomes posed as a defense of the grid."
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