How has it come about that indigenous cultures, body parts, and sequences of musical notes are considered property? How has the movement from collective to privatized systems affected notions of property? At what point in transaction chains do native cultures, indigenous medicines, or cyberdata become objects and therefore propertized, and what are the social, economic, and ethical considerations for such transformations? Addressing these hotly contested issues and many more, Property in Question interrogates the very concept of property and what is happening to it in the contemporary world, in case studies ranging from Romania to Kazakhstan, Africa to North America. The book examines not only the changing character of the property concept, but also its ideological foundations and political usages. Authors address bio-transactions, music copyright, cyberspace, oil prospecting, debates over privatization of land and factories, and dilemmas arising with new forms of ownership of businesses. Offering a fresh perspective on contemporary economic transformation, this volume is a long overdue investigation of the power of the private property concept, as well as an exploration of how the global economy may be subtly, even invisibly, changing what property means and how we relate to it.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments, List of Contributors, Introduction: Raising Questions about Property, Part I: The “Things” of Property, 1. Bodily Transactions: Regulating a New Space of Flows in “Bio-information”, 2. Heritage as Property, 3. The Selective Protection of Musical Ideas: The “Creators” and the Dispossessed, 4. Crude Properties: The Sublime and Slime of Oil Operations in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Part II: Property, Value, and Liability 5 Prospecting’s Publics, 6. The Obligations of Ownership: Restoring Rights to Land in Postsocialist Transylvania, 7. Proprietary Regimes and Sociotechnical Systems: Rights over Land in Mongolia’s “Age of the Market”, Part III: Cultural Recognition, 8. At Home in the Violence of Recognition, 9. Cultural Rights and Wrongs: Uses of the Concept of Property, 10. The Menace of Hawkers: Property Forms and the Politics of Market Liberalization in Mumbai, Part IV: Critiquing Property, 11. Value, Relations, and Changing Bodies: Privatization and Property Rights in Kazakhstan, 12. Economic Claims and the Challenges of New Property, 13. Cyberspatial Properties: Taxing Questions about Proprietary Regimes, Index
Katherine Verdery Eric R. Wolf Professor of Anthropology and Interim Chair,University of Michigan Caroline Humphrey Professor of Asian Anthropology, University of Cambridge