Berghahn Books turns 25! Get 25% off all books!
Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
Changing Properties of Property

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Changing Properties of Property

Edited by Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, Franz von Benda-Beckmann, and Melanie Wiber

25th Anniversary Sale, 25% off all books! Add coupon code BB25

376 pages, 5 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-139-4 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (May 2006)

ISBN  978-1-84545-727-3 25% OFF! $34.95/£24.00 $26.21/£18.00 Pb Published (November 2009)

eISBN 978-0-85745-528-4 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! 25% off $34.95 $26.21 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Collections often are uneven and not coherent enough; fortunately, this is not the case at all here: in spite of the great number of contributions they complement each other well, with many cross references…”  ·  Verfassung und Recht in Übersee

“The volume represents an excellent model for what may be considered a constant duty of the researcher: always questioning the epistemological validity of concepts, theories, main instruments in research work, always trying to readjust them in order to avoid over-generalise erroneous assumptions. This implies a dynamic and flexible positioning toward empirical data and theory at the same time, something that the contributors to this volume accomplished with success, thus opening new paths in property analysis.”  ·  Social Anthropology


As an important contribution to debates on property theory and the role of law in creating, disputing, defining and refining property rights, this volume provides new theoretical material on property systems, as well as new empirically grounded case studies of the dynamics of property transformations. The property claimants discussed in these papers represent a diverse range of actors, including post-socialist states and their citizens, those receiving restitution for past property losses in Africa, Southeast Asia and in eastern Europe, collectives, corporate and individual actors. The volume thus provides a comprehensive anthropological analysis not only of property structures and ideologies, but also of property (and its politics) in action.

Franz von Benda-Beckmann is head of the project group "Legal Pluralism" at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at Halle, Germany. He is professor for law in developing countries at Wageningen University, the Netherlands and honorary professor at the University of Leipzig. His research in Malawi and Indonesia focuses property and inheritance, social security, decentralization and legal anthropological theory.

Keebet von Benda-Beckmann is head of the project group “Legal Pluralism” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at Halle, Germany. She is a professor of Anthropology of Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam and honorary professor at the University of Leipzig. Her research focuses on disputing, decentralisation, social security, and natural resources in Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Melanie Wiber is Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Her research focuses on new forms of property, economic and legal anthropology, natural resource management and especially agriculture and the fishery

Subject: Development Studies General Anthropology
Area: Europe Africa


List of Maps, Figures and Tables

Chapter 1. The Properties of Property
Franz von Benda-Beckmann, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann and Melanie G. Wiber

Chapter 2. Ownership in Stateless Places
Charles Geisler

Chapter 3. The Romance of Privatisation and Its Unheralded Challengers: Case Studies from English, Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet History
Esther Kingston-Mann

Chapter 4. Beyond Embeddedness: A Challenge Raised by a Comparison of the Struggles Over Land in African and Post-socialist Countries
Pauline E. Peters

Chapter 5. Land as Asset, Land as Liability: Property Politics in Rural Central and Eastern Europe
Thomas Sikor

Chapter 6. Property, Labour Relations and Social Obligations in Russia’s Privatised Farm Enterprises
Oane Visser

Chapter 7. Cooperative Property at the Limit
John R. Eidson

Chapter 8. Who Owns the Fisheries? Changing Views of Property and Its Redistribution in Post-colonial Maori Society
Toon van Meijl

Chapter 9. How Communal is Communal and Whose Communal is It? Lessons from Minangkabau
Franz and Keebet von Benda-Beckmann

Chapter 10. Moving Borders and Invisible Boundaries: A Force Field Approach to Property Relations in the Commons of a Mexican
Ejido Monique Nuijten and David Lorenzo

Chapter 11. ‘The Tragedy of the Private’: Owners, Communities and the State in South Africa’s Land Reform Programme
Deborah James

Chapter 12. The Folk Conceptualisation of Property and Forest-related Going Concerns in Madagascar
Frank Muttenzer

Chapter 13. Property Rights, Water and Conflict in the Western U.S.
Edella Schlager

Chapter 14. Appropriating Family Trees: Genealogies in the Age of Genetics
Gísli Pálsson

Chapter 15. Cultural Property, Repatriation and Relative Publics: Which Public? Whose Culture?
Melanie G. Wiber

Notes on Contributors

Back to Top