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Keynote Abstracts

Prof. Nicholas Blomley: Property, territory, and the right to not be excluded

Dominant relations of property are spatialized in particular territorial forms. Territory is not simply an outcome of property, but a means by which it is materialized, organized, and practiced, working so as to communicate and enforce property’s right to be excluded. Drawing from the work of C.B. Macpherson, I focus here on property’s right to not be excluded, and the manner in which this is expressed through forms of territorial transgression, contestation, and remaking. I point again to the crucial work that the territorial dimensions of property do in the contestation of property, drawing broader conclusions for property theory and praxis.

Prof. Bill Maurer: Blockchains are a Diamond’s Best Friend: From Cadastral Maps to Distributed Ledgers

Bitcoin captivated the imagination of Silicon Valley developers, venture capitalists and not a few anarchists and alternative money proponents upon its launch in 2008. The underlying technology on which it relies, however – a database distributed among some participants in the network – is now being used for everything from the sealing of wedding vows to microblogging to asset registration. Such assets include everything from works of art to farm equipment to land. This is curious: a supposedly cutting edge technology being sutured not just to property relations but to properties one might associate with the ancien regime as easily as to speculative capitalist investments--art, and land. A funny thing is happening on the way to the “distributed ledger space,” as some are calling this area of potential business opportunity. While leaving aside bitcoin the currency, participants are rediscovering that ledgers are really good for managing and manipulating other things of value. In rediscovering accounts, they are potentially, paradoxically, rediscovering money of account. We thus are drawn into a new consideration of the relationship between money, property and accounting.