Can Social Property Survive Under Neoliberalism?: A View from Australia

  • Peter D. BurdonEmail author
  • James G. Stewart


This chapter addresses the practicalities and possibilities of Leon Duguit’s social function norm under neo-liberalism. Addressing Duguit’s articulation of the social function norm through a contemporary lens, this chapter argues that the steady shift towards individualistic property relations limits the social function norm’s application. Drawing from key thinkers on neoliberalism, this chapter balances contemporary issues in property, with Duguit’s own evolutionary assumptions on property rights. We conclude by acknowledging the difficulties in finding common ground between the social function norm and contemporary, neoliberal approaches to property, before identifying one major exception. Through Bonnie Honig’s idea of ‘public things’, we argue that within the public space there is a potential to utilise the social function norm to aid ideas of community and property. This nuanced application of Duguit locates a nexus where social obligations can function under neoliberalism.

Social relations Neoliberalism Public things Property Social obligations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Adelaide Law SchoolThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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