Property rights and their violations. La propriété violée
Interest in the history of ownership rights is growing and spreading to different disciplines. Historians are turning their attention mainly to the rise of private and individual ownership as it was codified in 19th-century liberal Europe. In writing this history, however, their perspective has too often ignored the other side of the coin, namely the restrictions which the sovereign imposed on such rights, allegedly in the interest of the community.
The papers collected in the present volume suggest that private property is not necessarily the most safeguarded legal model, hence it is not less vulnerable to violation. They construct a close analysis of the most common forms of abuse of private property on record - expropriation, seizure, and confiscation - perpetrated by public authorities. They also seek to define the uneasy, often intricate relation between legal and legitimate. In a perspective of lights and shadows, the role of confiscation and expropriation changes: now seen as powerful instruments of change, now as enduring factors of conservation in the evolution of private ownership rights.