Protest, Property and the Commons

Performances of Law and Resistance

By Lucy Finchett-Maddock

© 2016 – Routledge

288 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415858953
pub: 2016-03-11
Available for pre-order
US Dollars$135.00

About the Book

Protest, Property and the Commons focuses on the alternative property narratives of 'social centres' (political squats) and how the spaces and their communities create their own form of social centre law or law of resistance. This resistant law represents not just non-institutional legality but also a performance of nonlinear time, as opposed to the linear trajectory of institutionalised state law, demonstrating the integral role of time and space in law and resistance. It is a philosophical, contextual account of the spatio-temporal intersection of individual property in law and resistance.

Protest, Property and the Commons is unique in that it combines critical legal theory with legal pluralism, legal geography, post-structuralism and new materialisms in understanding the spatio-temporal constitution of resistance to law, the use of state law by protest movements and the creation of informal legalities. Useful for anyone working within the area of informal property in land, commons, protest and adverse possession, the focus of social centres provides a ground-breaking platform for illustrating the integral role of time, space and performance the processes of institution in law and resistance.

Table of Contents

1. Resistance to Law to Resistance 2. Social Centres 3. Property and the A-Legal Vacuum 4. Social Centre Law 5. Reclamation of Social Space and the Theatre of the Commons 6. Memory, Performance and the Archive 7. Time and Succession 8. The Memory of the Commons and the Memory of Enclosure Conclusion – Liminal Futures

About the Author

Lucy Finchett-Maddock is Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex, UK. Her research looks at critical legal, legal geographical and entropic explorations of law, resistance, property, aesthetics, and politics.

About the Series

Social Justice

Within a broad geopolitical and intellectual landscape, this new, theoretically engaged, interdisciplinary series explores institutional and grassroots practices of social justice across a range of spatial scales. While the pursuit of social justice is as important as it has ever been, its character, conditions, values, and means of advancement are being radically questioned and rethought in the light of contemporary challenges and choices. Attuned to these varied and evolving contexts, Social Justice explores the complex conditions social justice politics confronts and inhabits – of crisis, shock, and erosion, as well as renewal and social invention, of change as well as continuity.

Foregrounding struggle, imagined alternatives and the embedding of new norms, the Social Justice series welcomes books which critically and normatively address the values underpinning new social politics, everyday forms of embodied practice, new dissident knowledges, and struggles to institutionalise change. In particular, the series seeks to explore state and non-state forms of organisation, analysing the different pathways through which social justice projects are put into practice, and the contests their practice generates. More generally, submissions are welcomed exploring the following themes:

• The changing politics of equality and social justice

• The establishment of alternative, organised sites and networks through which social and political experimentation take place

• The phenomenology of power, inequality and changing social relations

• Techniques of governance through which social change and equality agendas are advanced and institutionalised across different geographic scales

• Institutionalisation of new norms (through official and unofficial forms of institutionalisation) and struggles over them

• Practices of resistance, reversal, counter-hegemony and anti-normativity

• Changing values, practices, and the ways in which relations of inequality and difference are understood

Social Justice is intended as a critical interdisciplinary series, at the interface of law, social theory, politics and cultural studies. The series welcomes proposals that advance theoretical discussion about social justice, power, institutions, grass-roots practice and values/ ethics. Seeking to develop new conversations across different disciplines and fields, and working with wide-ranging methodologies, Social Justice seeks contributions that are open, engaging, and which speak to a wide, diverse academic audience across all areas of the law, social sciences and humanities.

For further information on the series, or to discuss a possible contribution, please contact the Series Editors at:


Sarah Lamble
School of Law, Birkbeck College 
University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Tel: +44 (0)207 631 6017

Davina Cooper, Kent Law School, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, UK
Tel: +44 (1227) 824172

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW / Housing & Urban Development
LAW / Property
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Anarchism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban