Ownership Regimes in the Iberian World, 1500-1850


  • Start: Aug 31, 2022
  • End: Sep 2, 2022
  • Location: Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory
  • Host: Research group IberLAND in cooperation with the research project "Glocalizing Normativities"
  • Contact: iberland@lhlt.mpg.de
Ownership Regimes in the Iberian World, 1500-1850

As part of the Glocalizing Normativities project, this workshop aims to explore how the idea of «Ownership Regime» can help organize a different way of observing the relations between people and land that moves away from traditional perspectives centered on royal laws, legal doctrine, and theories of property.

While the traditional focus on legal categories provides depth and nuance to how notions of ownership have been historically defined and conceived, it ignores the concrete socio-historical conditions that surround these categories and, as such, gives them their normative substance. The holding of land was not only regulated through doctrine, laws, customs, and grace, but was bound to corporate bodies and kinship ties that varied according to the region and the local forms of social and political reproduction.

The combination of these diverse orders of normative structuring can be defined as the «Ownership Regime». Moving from a focus on law to a focus on historical regimes of normativity implies understanding law and juridical normativity as one component within a complex and dynamic ensemble of practices, institutions, and social, religious, and cultural norms that produced historically efficient and consolidated normative arrangements. Such a perspective demands that historians and legal historians interested in studying land tenure in the different regions of the Iberian world focus more carefully on how the combination of these normative sources produced specific arrangements in the ways in which land was held, owned, divided, regulated, and how conflicts were adjudicated. 

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