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LegalismProperty and Ownership$
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Georgy Kantor, Tom Lambert, and Hannah Skoda

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813415.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 July 2021

The Afterlife of Property

The Afterlife of Property

Affect, Time, Value

(p.89) 4 The Afterlife of Property

Matthew S. Erie

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the empirical case of property contests (both buildings and land) in contemporary China. Property attains an ‘afterlife’ when state legalism no longer monopolizes the categories of property, but rather, kinship, religious communities, and village life generate their own forms of legalism centred on property. Property holders, while not wholly rejecting the legitimacy of state law, nonetheless question, challenge, contest, and reinterpret its logics. The examples considered here demonstrate that property’s value inheres in legalisms grounded in notions of family, home, and faith and that individuals’ sense of rights’ security is born from such legalisms. Such interpretations create strong affective ties which long outlive the formal basis of property rights in state law, producing irresolvable tensions — property’s afterlife.

Keywords:   State Legalism, Kinship, Muslim Communities, China, Afterlife of Property, Affective Ties

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