Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2232642
 


 



Brazilian Regularization of Title in Light of Moradia, Compared to the United States’ Understandings of Homeownership and Homelessness


Marc R. Poirier


Seton Hall University - School of Law

March 13, 2013

University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, Forthcoming
Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 2230336

Abstract:     
This Essay considers the cultural resonances of regularization of title (regularização) for homeownership in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. It compares those resonances to the cultural meaning of homeownership in the United States. Brazil’s approach is informed by an understanding of moradia, a right to dwell someplace, that is a far cry from its typical English translation as a right to housing. Brazil also draws on constitutional provisions and a long Latin American tradition concerning the social function of property, as well as a general theoretical understanding of the right to the city and of cidadania, a certain kind of citizenship. All of these frames construct homeownership as a gateway to interconnection and full participation in the life of the city. This is distinctly different from the individualistic cast of the prevailing understanding of homeownership in the United States, as personal success and the achievement of wealth, status, and a private castle.

The Essay also considers the standard United States construction of homelessness, which again tends to frame the issue in terms of individual responsibility or blame or of the role of institutional structures as they affect individuals, and typically fails to recognize the effect of having no property on relationships and interconnectedness and ultimately citizenship. The Essay advances five reason for the differences between Brazilian and United States understandings of homeownership. These include very different histories concerning the distribution of public lands; the absence in United States property jurisprudence of anything like the notion of a social function of property; the physical invisibility of informal communities in the United States; United States jurisprudence’s rejection of vague, aspirational human rights claims as law; and an insistence in United States jurisprudence on legal monism and an abstract, universalizing account of property ownership that valorizes one-size-fits-all law rather than case-by-case accounts of how land and dwellings are managed by various local communities.

Finally, the Essay observes a recent groundswell of United States scholarship that debunks “A own Blackacre” as an adequate account of the ownership of land and homes, insisting on a more race- and class-informed account as to both the history of homeownership and possible solutions for providing secure dwelling for the poor. The Essay recommends a convergence of studies of informal communities worldwide with a more nuanced, race- and class-informed understanding of homeownership.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: regularization of title, moradia, right to housing, social function of property, property, right to the city, Brazil, homeownership, home, homelessness, favela, citizenship, colonia, tent city, squatter, de soto, informal housing, affordable housing, legal monism, legal pluralism, rio de janeiro

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: March 14, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Poirier, Marc R., Brazilian Regularization of Title in Light of Moradia, Compared to the United States’ Understandings of Homeownership and Homelessness (March 13, 2013). University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, Forthcoming; Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 2230336. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2232642

Contact Information

Marc R. Poirier (Contact Author)
Seton Hall University - School of Law ( email )
One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
United States
973-642-8478 (Phone)
973-642-8546 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 270
Downloads: 35

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.219 seconds