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2017

Populism

Boston University School of Law

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Populist Property Law, Anna Di Robilant Feb 2017

Populist Property Law, Anna Di Robilant

Faculty Scholarship

Property scholars think of property law as consisting of a small number of highly technical forms created a long time ago by "experts, i.e., legislatures and courts, which are hardly accessible to non-lawyers. This Article explores a new idea: the possibility that ordinary people, with little or no legal training, can become active participants in the creation of property law, directly intervening in the development of new property forms. The Article tells the story of two nineteenth-century American social movements that represented the "little guys " - workers and farmers - who used their 'folk legal" imagination to develop new …