The social construction of property rights in 19th-century Brazil
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Mariana Armond Dias Paes’ monograph examines the social construction of legal relations between people and things in Brazil during the 19th century. Her analysis focuses on numerous cases decided by the Court of Appeals (Rio de Janeiro) discussing dominion and possession over slaves and land. The chapters address topics such as the role of social recognition in situations of possession, the processes by which acts of land usage by indigenous peoples, dependent persons and women were delegitimized, and the widespread illegal acquisition of land and slaves. The close reading and interpretation of the sources show that the construction of property rights in Brazil between the 1830s and 1890s built upon the pre-existing structures of ius commune, whose categories were re-signified.