Property relations are such a common feature of social life that the complexity of the web of laws, practices, and ideas that allow a property regime to function smoothly are often forgotten. But we are quickly reminded of this complexity when conflict over property erupts. When social actors confront a property regime – for example by squatting – they enact what can be called ‘contested property claims’. As this book demonstrates, these confrontations raise crucial issues of social justice and show the ways in which property conflicts often reflect wider social conflicts. Through a series of case studies from across the globe, this multidisciplinary anthology brings together works from anthropologists, legal scholars, and geographers, who show how exploring contested property claims offers a privileged window onto how property regimes function, as well as an illustration of the many ways that the institution of property shapes power relationships today.

chapter |20 pages


Disagreement as a window onto property

part I|105 pages

Squatting and eviction

chapter 1|16 pages

The right to the city and its limits

Contested property claims, urban exceptionality, and the fight for relational space in Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games 2014

chapter 2|16 pages

Possession through dispossession

In quest of property and social mobility in urban Brazil

chapter 3|19 pages

The politics of legal technicalities

An inquiry into the demolition of a Roma EU-migrant settlement in Malmö, Sweden

part |33 pages


chapter 5|14 pages

Landed (Freeman’s Wood)

An exploration of landownership through contemporary art

chapter 6|17 pages

In the time of Trump

Housing, whiteness, and abolition

part II|101 pages

Land rights and conflicting laws

chapter 7|22 pages

The work of ownership

Shaping contestation in Ontario’s aggregate extraction disputes

chapter 9|19 pages

Property as a technique of jurisdiction

Traplines and tenure

chapter 10|20 pages

Decolonizing neoliberalism?

First Nations reserves, private property rights, and the legislation of Indigenous dispossession in Canada

chapter 11|16 pages

Contesting claims to gardens and land

Gendered practice in post-war northern Uganda

chapter |7 pages


Prophecies on property’s probability: climate change and smart contracts in the Anthropocene