Property as legal knowledge: Means and ends

Annelise Riles*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Scopus citations


    This article takes anthropologists' renewed interest in property theory as an opportunity to consider legal theory-making as an ethnographic subject in its own right. My focus is on one particular construct - the instrument, or relation of means to ends, that animates both legal and anthropological theories about property. An analysis of the workings of this construct leads to the conclusion that rather than critique the ends of legal knowledge, the anthropology of property should devote itself to articulating its own means.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)775-795
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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