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Property rights and their violations - La propriété violée

Expropriations and confiscations, 16 th –20 th Centuries- Expropriations et confiscations, XVI e –XX e siècles

Edited By Luigi Lorenzetti, Michela Barbot and Luca Mocarelli

Interest in the history of ownership rights is growing and spreading to different disciplines. Historians are turning their attention mainly to the rise of private and individual ownership as it was codified in 19 th -century liberal Europe. In writing this history, however, their perspective has too often ignored the other side of the coin, namely the restrictions which the sovereign imposed on such rights, allegedly in the interest of the community.
The papers collected in the present volume suggest that private property is not necessarily the most safeguarded legal model, hence it is not less vulnerable to violation. They construct a close analysis of the most common forms of abuse of private property on record – expropriation, seizure, and confiscation – perpetrated by public authorities. They also seek to define the uneasy, often intricate relation between legal and legitimate. In a perspective of lights and shadows, the role of confiscation and expropriation changes : now seen as powerful instruments of change, now as enduring factors of conservation in the evolution of private ownership rights.
Les droits de propriété sont depuis longtemps au cœur de l’intérêt de diverses disciplines. L’attention des historiens s’est focalisée surtout sur la naissance de la propriété privée et individuelle telle qu’elle a été codifiée dans l’Europe libérale du XIX e siècle. Toutefois, son histoire a trop souvent négligé l’autre face de la médaille, à savoir les limites fixées à ce droit par le souverain au nom de l’intérêt de la collectivité. Les contributions figurant dans ce volume suggèrent que la propriété privée individuelle ne représente pas le modèle juridique le plus apte à la protéger face aux risques d’infraction. Au cœur des analyses il y a les formes historiques de la violation de la propriété privée – expropriations, saisies, confiscations – perpétrées par les autorités et le rapport, souvent complexe et ambigüe, entre les dimensions de la légalité et de la légitimité. Dans un jeu d’ombres et de lumières, les confiscations et les expropriations se dessinent à la fois comme de puissants instruments de changement et de tenaces facteur de conservation dans l’évolution des formes de propriété.


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From Barons to Peasant Farmers : The Privatisation of Feudal Lands in Southern Italy in the Nineteenth Century - Paola Nardone 185


From Barons to Peasant Farmers : The Privatisation of Feudal Lands in Southern Italy in the Nineteenth Century Paola Nardone During the course of the eighteenth century, as part of the process of the Enlightenment, the political and economic power of the baronial class and the Church were downsized as Western European States became increasingly securlarized. This development was particularly slow and difficult in southern Italy, where the authority of the feudal lords and the Church had grown considerably over the years. Thanks to the concessions made by the various sovereigns, these social classes had accumulated extensive privileges which, in point of fact, prevented the State from exercising its sovereignty over the country, thereby hindering any economic growth or civil progress. At the turn of the century, Neapolitan society was still organised along essentially feudal lines, based on a centuries-old stratification of customs, tra- ditions and rights (but also usurpations and arrogance) which had brought about a paradoxical situation : the people were subject to the “government of two masters”1. The authority of the sovereign was in fact significantly restricted by that of the feudal lords and the Church, both of which enjoyed immunity with respect to royal power, and legal and financial rights over the king’s subjects, but above all, both possessed huge landed interests. In particular, it was estimated that the Church occupied between half and three quarters of the entire Kingdom2, 1 Villani Pasquale, Mezzogiorno tra riforme e rivoluzione, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1974, p. 156. For more on this...

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