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.
This line is centered in studies, which come from a reflection about the role of the State in the processes of innovation, favoring the analysis of the public policies which, aimed and aim to protect collective interests before individual interests or hegemonic groups.
In the interface between History and Law, this line focuses on the battles and relations between the individual and collective rights’ dimensions. It specifically centers the construction in the legal field of the legitimizing and delegitimizing processes of properties and common goods.
This line analyses the production of knowledge, the democratization and access to information. It was first originated in the NEDAC research group. It is interested in the dialogue between Law, Cultural Production and what is called Creative Economy.
This line recovers the multiple sides of the author’s rights and the scales of rights regarding the same cultural product. In the interface between Art, Law and History the construction process of art production is deconstructed.
In the interface between History and Economy, this line of research favors the studies that analyze the transference of patrimony, emphasizing the process of fortune building and its opposite, the formalizing of properties and the disputes and quarrels which involve patrimonial goods.
One of the important lines of the Rural History nucleus focuses on the agrarian laws in its relation with the social conflicts and movements in the country. Given that the land, a non reproducible good by nature and the historical discussion’s main point about the concept of property, it is concentrated on the historical dimension – although it’s not continuous – of the quarrels between individual and collective interests.