The Abuse of Property
136 pp., 5 x 7 in,
- Published: August 1, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A fundamental critique of the current property regime, calling for radical social and political change.
In The Abuse of Property, Daniel Loick offers a multifaceted philosophical critique of the concept of property, broadly understood. He argues that property should not be the dominant framework in which human beings regulate the use of things, that property is not the same as use. Property rights, in his view, are not conditions of freedom or justice, but deficient, dysfunctional, and harmful ways of interacting with other people and the natural environment. He dissects not only the classic justifications of property (from John Locke's justification of property as a natural right based on individual freedom to Hegel's justification of property as a form of mutual recognition) but also the classic critiques of property, from Proudhon and Marx up to Adorno and Agamben.
Through an innovative critical approach to legal studies, Loick demonstrates how the concept of property, historically applied to things and people and still a linchpin of our distorted relation with the world, forms a direct line from the Occupy movement to Black Lives Matter and beyond.
Untimely Meditations series
“With searing clarity, Daniel Loick presents a highly sophisticated, urgent, and necessary interrogation of 'the tragedy of property.' Breathing new life into the social, political, and ethical critiques of private forms of ownership, Loick offers us a novel and sorely needed reconceptualization of the concept of use as a basis for radical political and social movements. Upending complacent notions of the commons, Loick illuminates how squatting and occupying, along with movements for landback and abolition, centre repair over destruction and collective life over individual profit. This book is an indispensable read for scholars, students, and activists alike.”
Brenna Bhandar, author of Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership