Edited by Peter Drahos, Gustavo Ghidini and Hanns Ullrich
Chapter 4: Property abandoned? Rights, wrongs and forgetting Durkheim
The present social fact of law in crumbling neo-liberal exchange markets is its failure through crude criminalisation to enforce the prevailing barriers. If property, once conceived and commodified in legal forms such as ownership and possession, is not to be abandoned in the wreckage of the dominant global economic model under siege, it must be emancipated within new inclusionary spaces such as the internet. Law as property’s commodifier, the author argues argue, needs repositioning for this purpose. The future role of legal regulation within markets now constructed and operating through radically different power relations is a theme which the essay’s analysis critically evaluates for the purposes of understanding social embedding and power dispersal. It is asserted that in repositioning law as a communal resource, the law/property nexus can morph towards user inclusion rather than agency exclusion for wealth creation via property possession. Property as social relations, not contested rights, can enliven Durkheimian analysis and give new, globalised energy to Polanyi’s double movement.
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