The Working Group on Property, Citizenship, and Social Entrepreneurism (PCSE) ( is sponsored by the Syracuse University College of Law and its Program in Law and Market Economy. The Program in Law and Market Economy is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the relationship among law, markets, and culture. Within this context the Working Group on PCSE brings together experts from a variety of institutions to discuss and explore issues related to property law, governance, and globalization. The Group will provide an ongoing forum for the publication of important new works.

Sponsored by Syracuse University, College of Law

"Terra Firma: Re-Examining Land Rights within the Mosaic of Development, Democracy and Justice" Free Download

SHALU NIGAM, Centre for Women Development Studies

Past few months have witnessed an intense debate and emotional turmoil over the Land Acquisition law not only in the Parliament but also on streets and corners spanning India. The struggle over land rights is not new; rather it has been long and continuous. However, in contemporary situation, the state is abetting pro-capitalist neoliberal agenda while amending the existing land laws and policies. Under the new scheme, the plan is to allow acquisition of the land while overriding several social clauses and award the same to industries and businesses on highly lucrative terms. This is a cause for contestation, resentment and struggle. For years, farmers, peasants, fisherman, local artisans and all those actors in communities who depend on the land for their livelihood and survival are facing serious issues in the realm of compensation, resettlement and rehabilitation and most importantly, in the arena of ownership and their continued existence. Therefore, this neo liberal development model is leading to destruction and devastation of the poor and the marginalized by taking away their 'everything' – from the community style living and culture to their entitlement to land and their livelihood, alienating them and making them vulnerable and the 'other' in their own soil. Hence, they are protesting in different ways at various places. The current situation therefore is such that the government is pushing for reform in land laws on one hand and on the other the subalterns are strongly resisting this restructuring of laws and policies to evict them from their home. It is leading to an intense ideological conflict and a new form of democracy is emerging out of this churning, giving rise to a new form of politics where marginalized are countering the state apparatus to negotiate their claims and entitlements. This piece of writing will examine the situation of hegemonic economist regime through the critical framework relating to rights, justice, redistribution, equality and ethics which is resurrecting the new politics of citizenship thus altering the discourse on democracy and people’s participation in governance.

"Human Impact Statements" Free Download
Washburn Law Journal, Forthcoming

MARC LANE ROARK, The Savannah Law School

When a city undertakes a development project, low income and homeless persons face risks of expulsion. Public and private developers often target low-income neighborhoods and public lands because those spaces are viewed as economically more attainable or available for development. Moreover, the legal systems preference to treat disputes as individual entitlement claims tends to relegate disputes to broad questions of entitlements rather than unpacking the impacts that property changes have on the vulnerable populations. Whether by gentrification or by enhancement of city infrastructure, developer decisions disrupt what are already unstable living environments by imposing increased costs of relocation. These changes also destabilize community relationships by separating individuals and families from the support networks, local transportation options, and local employment that they have come to rely on. In short, low-income and homeless persons find themselves even more destabilized when public and private development projects force their evacuation from where they live. This article argues that though development may be necessary, it should not be undertaken without more serious evaluation of the human impacts in relation to the space. Such evaluations should include the impact on communities, employment, education, and environment for impacted persons. Importantly, failure to take notice of these impacts continues to promote cycles of poverty that plague American cities.

Drawing on similarities in the environmental context, the article argues that a NEPA-like approach to human housing can offset externalities that homeless persons and those living in low-income housing are forced to internalize through environment changes. Amongst those impacts are the imbalance between the well-funded developer and low income populations; the view that low income properties can be classified as nuisance type properties; and the tendency to only consider the highest best use of property as the rationale for development. The article concludes by offering model legislation that could be implemented to provide a NEPA like assessment to city development.

"The 'Credibility Thesis' and its Application to Property Rights: (In)Secure Land Tenure and Social Welfare in China" 
Land Use Policy, Vol. 40, September 2014

PETER HO, Delft University of Technology

Debates over tenure insecurity have been divided between those favoring private, marketable, and formalized property rights versus champions of grassroots’ customary and communal arrangements. By positing the “credibility thesis?, this article argues that it might be more insightful to move beyond concepts of formal and informal, private and common, or secure and insecure institutions, to leave the discussion about institutional form for a discussion about function. The notion of credibility does so by drawing attention to institutional function over time and space rather than to a desired form postulated by theory or political conviction. Apart from furthering the theoretical foundations on credibility and institutional functionalism, this article aims to develop its methodology and empirical study by taking China as a case study, with particular reference to its rural land-lease system, which is perceived to be highly insecure due to forced evictions and government intervention. Paradoxically, the study finds significant social support for the rural land-lease system and a low level of conflict. These findings might indicate that the form of the Chinese rural lease system (insecure tenure) is the outcome of its present function (provision of social welfare). Simultaneously, it was also found that when conflict does occur expropriation is a prime cause for it.

"Property, Penality, and (Racial) Profiling" 
Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Forthcoming

TAJA-NIA Y. HENDERSON, Rutgers School of Law - Newark

This Article historicizes societal associations of “blackness? with criminality through an examination of the peculiar property security role of criminal law enforcement mechanisms (and spaces) in the service of slavery in the early American South. I ask how slaveholders deployed “law? to further their interests in slavery and the security of slave property. Drawing on archival and other historical source material to illuminate previously understudied functions and functionaries of law in a slave society, the Article answers this question by demonstrating how the incarceration of slave property in penal facilities for matters falling entirely outside the dictates of the criminal law — whether for discipline, “safekeeping,? or sale — was a central element of the everyday law of slavery in early America. These practices not only shaped penal practice in this period, but also helped to cement the cultural entwinement of race and criminal suspicion in the region.

This long history of what has come to be associated with racial targeting and “profiling? in law enforcement enhances our understanding of the multivalent functions of erstwhile legal institutions. It challenges persistent societal associations of blackness with criminality, while situating this phenomenon (of particular interest to scholars of criminalization, racial profiling, and constitutional remedies) within the broad history of slavery in the US.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Syracuse University, College of Law.

The eJournal of Property, Citizenship, and Social Entrepreneurism (PCSE) is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to exploring the core principle that a just and accessible property law system is the basis for both good citizenship and successful socio-legal development. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts primarily concerned with matters of property as they relate to the human process of exchange, the fostering of democratic institutions, the building of sustainable communities, the stewardship of the global environment and its natural resources, the promotion of citizenship, and the development of market institutions that respond to and promote a worthy social mission.

Our goal is to explore the legal infrastructure of property in broad terms: encompassing concerns for real, personal, intangible, and intellectual property, as well as looking at property related financial markets (including real estate mortgages, personal property security interests, licensing, and securitization).

Making reference to specific examples of property (in its various forms) we will address the following types of issues.

1) To what extent do property rights reduce or eliminate the need for government regulation (particularly command and control-regulation) while enhancing the environment for open market approaches to economic development and globalization? This includes consideration of the way in which property rights actually reduce transaction costs, correct for problems raised by the tragedy of the commons, and organize society in a way that fosters efficient economic development.

2) What is the role of privatization of State controlled property in the transformation process? How should privatization be approached and what distinctions need to be made between public, private, and state property? This includes discussion of necessary support infrastructure for successful privatization, and consideration of the need for government control over private companies dealing with public utilities, natural resources, and transportation systems.

3) To what extent do property rights enhance citizenship and advance democratic institutions? What role does private property play in creating political elites and the structures needed for controlled development and social transformation? How can property rights be used to make the rule of law more tangible, and to promote civic participation and inclusion? How are property rights related to citizenship issues respecting matters of race, gender, ethnicity, urban or rural location, and other factors?

4) To what extent do property rights promote entrepreneurism, including social entrepreneurism focusing on values other than mere maximization of economic wealth and efficiency? How can property rights fuel economic development while helping to reduce poverty?

5) In a world of global financial institutions such as the European Development Bank, The World Bank, and the IMF, with the power to influence indirect or quasi-law making, how are global property law systems to develop and become institutionalized? How do these institutions facilitate problems related to globalization and harmonization, and what are the socio-legal implications from such activity?


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