SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Keenan, Sarah (2010) 'Subversive Property: Reshaping Malleable Spaces of Belonging.' Social and Legal Studies, 19 (4). pp. 423-439.

Full text not available from this repository.


Despite a wide field of scholarship critiquing the idea and workings of property, most understandings still centre around the propertied subject. This paper spatializes property in order to shift the focus away from the propertied subject and onto the broader networks of relations that interact to form property. It draws on critical geography, phenomenology and empirical socio-legal work to argue that property can be understood as a relationship of belonging that is held up by the surrounding space – a relationship that is not fixed or essential but temporally and spatially contingent. Building on Davina Cooper’s analysis of ‘property practices’, I argue that when analysed spatially, the two types of belonging she discusses – belonging between a subject and an object and between a part and a whole – become indistinguishable. As such, characteristics generally associated with identity politics can be understood as property in the same way that owning a house can - in terms of belonging in space. This spatialized understanding shows the breadth of property’s political potential. Although property tends to be (re)productive of the status quo, it can also be subversive. Property can unsettle spaces too.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
ISSN: 09646639
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2012 15:13

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item