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puce How did the concept of "land ownership" come about ? Joseph Comby.
Michel Merlet

Presenting a few key texts by Joseph Comby.

Propriété #1The concept of “land ownership” is not universal. It came about very late in the history of mankind, and even today, it does not necessarily make sense in many cultures. Prior to the French Revolution, the plural term, “droits de propriété”, which corresponds to “property rights” in English, was used.

Being aware of this is crucial as new ways to ensure land rights are being elaborated.

Josephy Comby, founder of ADEF (Association for the Development of Land Use Studies), director of the revue, Etudes Foncières, and an AGTER member since June 2007 has written some texts that shed light on the history of a construction that is much more ideological than scientific.

We would like to thank him for authorizing us to hyperlink or put these documents on our site.

L’impossible propriété absolue /The Impossibility of Absolute Ownership (1990)

PDF - 37.6 ko
Comby. 1990 (fr)

Published by ADEF in a collective work titled, Un droit inviolable et sacré, this text may be already a bit dated, but it remains a reference for understanding how the absolutist conception of “ownership” came about during the French Revolution, as in opposition to the prevailing conceptions of the previous time period.

La gestation de la propriété/ The Fabrication of Ownership (1995)

Comment fabriquer la propriété ? Version publiée par Études Foncières (fr)

PDF - 103.6 ko
Comby. 1998 (es)

A paper that relates the above issues to policies for securing land access rights in different parts of the world. With the author’s and translator’s (Prof. Olivier Delahaye) consent, we also propose a new Spanish translation of this text.

(unauthorized reproduction is prohibited)

Les avatars de la propriété/ The Avatars of Ownership (2002)

PDF - 39 ko
Comby. 2002 (fr)

This article, published in the revue, Etudes Foncières, confirms that “property rights” are taking hold just about everywhere in the world, whereas “ownership” is on its way out. It is an invitation to reflect upon the categories and words that we use everyday.

La propriété, de la déclaration des droits au Code Civil/ Ownership, from the Bill of Rights to the French Civil Code (2004)

PDF - 184.5 ko
Comby. 2004 (fr)

An article published in the revue, Etudes Foncières #108. "The Civil Code’s bicentennial presents us with an occasion to revisit its exceptional treatment of ownership, thus raising it to great heights only to drain out all of its meaning".

Translation : Mary Rodeghier.


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