Property and Community fills a major gap in the legal literature on property and its relationship to community. The essays included differ from past discussions, including those provided by law-and-economics, by providing richer accounts of community. By and large, prior discussions by property theorists treat communities as agglomerations of individuals and eschew substantive accounts of justice, favoring what Charles Taylor has called "proceduralconceptions. These perspectives on ownership obscure the possibility that the "communitymight have a moral status that differs from neighboring owners or from non-owning individuals. This book examines a variety of social practices that implicate community in its relationship to property. These practices range from more obvious property-based communities like Israeli kibbutzim to surprising examples such as queues. Aspects of law and community in relationship to legal and social institutions both inside and outside of the United States are discussed.
Alexander and Penalver seek to mediate the distance between abstract theory and mundane features of daily life to provide a rich, textured treatment of the relationship between law and community. Instead of defining community in abstractly theoretical terms, they approach the subject through the lens of concrete institutions and social practices. In doing so, they not only enrich our empirical understanding of the relationship between property and community but also provide important insights into the concept of community itself.
Gregory Alexander, a nationally renowned expert in property law, has taught at Cornell Law School since 1985. Alexander has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, in Palo Alto, California and at the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Law, in Hamburg and Heidelberg, Germany. Mr. Alexander is a prolific and recognized writer, the winner of the American Publishers Association's 1997 Best Book of the
Year in Law award for his work, Commodity and Propriety. His most recent book is The Global Debate Over Constitutional Property: Lessons for American Takings Jurisprudence.
Eduardo Penalver joined the Cornell faculty in 2006 after teaching from 2003-05 at Fordham Law School and spending 2005-06 as a visiting professor at Yale Law School. Professor Penalver received his B.A. from Cornell University and his law degree from Yale Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. His research interests focus on property and land use, as well as law and religion. He is particularly
interested in the ways property both fosters and reflects communal bonds.