The Emotional Dynamics of Property Law

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Property, as a legal construct, denotes rights over ‘things’, with ownership as the ultimate legal entitlement. While contemporary scholarship posits a number of different theoretical perspectives, two things stand out: labelling something as ‘property’ and someone as its ‘owner’ carries a certain potency; and property speaks to complex relational ties and social interactions. Though studies show that most people have a “mental toolbox of basic property rules”, certain basic assumptions are misplaced. For example, ownership rights are not always absolute and unqualified, and the law does not always protects the rights of owners above everything else. Drawing on these ideas, this chapter will argue that people’s perceptions of property and what it means to them are not necessarily replicated in property law theory and doctrine - and that this conceptual disconnect is most apparent when we look at emotional attachments to specific types of property in different scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Law and Emotion
EditorsSA Bandes, JL Madeira, KD Temple, EK White
Number of pages19
VolumeEdward Elgar
ISBN (Electronic)9781788119085
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2021


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