Property as Capture and Care

66 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2010 Last revised: 13 Oct 2012

Date Written: 2010


This article describes property law as a constant negotiation between capture and care. On the one side, the rule of capture enables a possessory right through effort and intent, chiefly individualistic elements of a scheme that allows for the privatization of natural resources. However, capture tells only part of the property story, and this article brings to light non-capture aims in property that may be justified by the principle of care.

To explain care in this context, this article borrows from ecofeminism, an approach to environmental politics and ethics that “makes a central place for values of care, love, friendship, trust, and appropriate reciprocity – values that presuppose that our relationships with others are central to our understanding of who we are.” The article concludes that property law cannot be understood only through the individualistic aims of capture, and that a perspective of care provides property with a more comprehensive justification of the balance between private and public in a system that allocates common goods to private control.

Keywords: property, capture and care, capture, care, ecofeminism, environment

Suggested Citation

Hirokawa, Keith H., Property as Capture and Care (2010). Albany Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 1, p. 175 (2010/2011); Albany Law School Research Paper No. 10-21. Available at SSRN:

Keith H. Hirokawa (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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