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Engaging the EverydayEnvironmental Social Criticism and the Resonance Dilemma$
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John M. Meyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028905

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028905.001.0001

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Land and the Concept of Private Property

Land and the Concept of Private Property

(p.95) 5 Land and the Concept of Private Property
Engaging the Everyday

John M. Meyer

The MIT Press

An absolutist concept of property has the power to shape and constrain the public imagination. Libertarian theorists normatively embrace this concept. Yet its influence extends far beyond these proponents, shaping the views of an otherwise diverse array of theorists and activists. This limits the ability of environmentalists, among others, to respond coherently to challenges from property rights advocates who appeal to the so-called “takings clause” of the US Constitution to disembed land and land-use from social and ecological practice. In this chapter an alternative concept is advanced that understands private property as necessarily embedded in social and ecological relations, rather than constrained by them. This concept, it is argued, can prefigure a more robust environmentalism.

Keywords:   private property, land-use, liberal theory, ownership, takings clause, absolutist concept of property, property rights

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