Graffiti artists and guerrilla gardeners. Challenging our understandings of property law

Sue Farran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Graffiti artists and guerrilla gardeners challenge our perceptions and conceptions of the relationship between people and things, and in particular the ways in which the law frames property rights. But these ‘outlaws’ are evidence of a wider movement that is questioning the boundaries between public and private, between proprietorial claims and personal claims, and between what falls within the legal framework and what falls outside it. New and evolving relationships between people and the natural and built environment pose questions for the normative and regulative context in which property rights have traditionally operated and suggest that there is a wealth of interaction with land which is liminal to, or beyond, the limits of the legal. This chapter looks first at different forms of engagement with physical space exploring ways in which this engagement manifests itself, the legal or illegal milieu in which the activity takes place and the extent to which, if at all, the law provides an enabling or restrictive environment. The paper then considers if these forms of engagement reflect contemporary changes in values and concerns, for example, about the environment; public rights of access and use versus private rights of exclusivity, preservation or reclamation of heritage; community empowerment versus corporate or institutional might; local autonomy versus state ubiquity; and more broadly a reaction against prevailing property values. In combination these elements may suggest that the landscape is being changed and that the lawscape too may have to change. These forms of engagement may also mark a reaction against the commoditization of things and a reassertion of place as identity going beyond the physical, thereby suggesting a counter-revolution to the process taking place in the developing world where traditional forms of land tenure in which identity and place are closely linked, are imperilled by the drive to commoditize property in the interests of development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContributions to Law Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-embodiments
EditorsRuth Thomas Pellier, Vito De Lucia, Sian Sullivan
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)9781138852877
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016

Publication series

NameLaw, Justice and Ecology


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