The Proprietas Network is an initiative created by a team of researchers who come from different areas, History, Law and the Arts. It aims to foster discussions about the idea of common good, historicizing and problematizing the notion of private property, which is often taken as natural and absolute, as some of the best-known interpreters of liberalism have argued. The Proprietas Network has the objective of working as a means for debate and reflection on the subject of property, for the production and dissemination of research as well as for the exchange and interaction among researchers whose work is concerned about the preservation and defense of collective interests.
The research projects developed by Proprietas Network are coordinated by the historian Márcia Motta, professor of the History Department of the Fluminense Federal University [Universidade Federal Fluminense – UFF], CNPq researcher and “Nosso Estado Scientist” [Cientista do Nosso Estado] with the support of Faperj.
What is property? This apparently quite simple question has, by itself a history and writing about it is one of the most inglorious tasks. In 1840, while publishing a book with the title of Qu’est-ce que la propriété?, Proudhon, one of the most important anarchist thinkers, criticized the idea of private property assuring it was “le suicide de la societé”. When advocating in defense of property, Proudhon brought an issue that permeated throughout all history of humanity into debate. Confronting such theme aroused western intellectuality’s appetite and caused the emergency of new ideas and values, which were translated in innumerous pieces. Arguments on the function and the historical necessity of property were many times answered with deduction, which highlighted the relation between property and poverty. Some authors tried to unveil the siamese relation between property and freedom, while the first is responsible for the conservation of the later, as John Locke emphasizes. Others, following Friedrich Engels’ paths discussed the historical process that allowed the social division of labor and the property of means of production in its relation with the formation of the monogamous family and the State. Ultimately, the property theme gains relevance in the XIXth century and its problematization is still alive today.
The work made by the Proprietas Network is centered in three main thematic areas, each one is divided in two lines of research.