Property as legal knowledge: Means and ends

Annelise Riles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 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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