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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.
Introduction: Raising Questions about Property—Caroline Humphrey and Katherine Verdery
• The "Things" of Property
• Bodily Transactions: Regulating a New Space of Flows in "Bio-Information"—Bronwyn Parry
• Heritage as Property—Michael A. Brown
• The Selective Protection of Musical Ideas: The "Creators" and the Dispossessed—Anthony Seeger
• Crude Properties: the Sublime and Slime of Oil Operations in the Ecuadorian Amazon—Suzana Sawyer
• Property, Value, and Liability
• Prospecting's Publics—Cori Hayden
• The Obligations of Ownership: Restoring Rights to Land in Postsocialist Transylvania—Katherine Verdery
• Proprietary Regimes and Sociotechnical Systems: Rights over Land in Mongolia's "Age of the Market"—David Sneath
• Cultural Recognition
• At Home in the Violence of Recognition—Elizabeth Povinelli
• Cultural Rights and Wrongs: Uses of the Concept of Property—Michael Rowlands
• The Menace of Hawkers: Property Forms and the Politics of Market Liberalization in Mumbai—Arvind Rajagopal
• Critiquing Property
• Value, Relations, and Changing Bodies: Privatization and Property Rights in Kazakhstan—Catherine Alexander
• Economic Claims and the Challenges of New Property—Carol M. Rose
• Cyberspatial Properties: Taxing Questions about Proprietary Regimes—Bill Maurer