Seminar: The State, Private Property and Squatting in American Law

Date: 8 July 2019
Time: 1:30-2:30pm
Venue: Moot Court, Ligertwood Building, Adelaide Law School

Join Professor Marc Roark to discuss a case study applying concepts of scale to the application of state resources in the context of squatting. New York City in the U.S. and Barcelona Spain each have experienced significant squatter movements that have been shaped by state responses. Both states are “federal states” in that there are multiple levels of the state that each respond to their own sense of vulnerability and each were shaped by squatter occupations in the local municipalities. Consider the resources that states deploy from a scaled perspective, requires an analysis of the distinctive parts of those resources – namely their competencies and the capabilities.

Competencies are the jurisdictional powers that a state can deploy in the face of a problem. Capacities are the resources on the ground that a state can deploy. These resources must be measured according to their overlap raising what scholars have termed a hybridity analysis to unpack not only how scale shapes each in their own context, but how the context is shaped by the multi-level state. This chapter furthers the books argument that squatters reveal two important aspects about the state: (1) that the state’s relationship to private property has dramatically changed; and (2) that the state deploys resources in both a self-regarding and other-regarding manner according to what vulnerabilities the state validates being within its competencies and/or capabilities to address.
Marc Roark is an Associate Professor of Law and Senior Fellow at the Southern University Law Center Indian Law and Policy Institute. He teaches and writes in areas of property law, commercial law and housing. He has published nineteen articles, in journals such as the Missouri Law Review, Louisiana Law Review, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Duke Law and Technology Review, Journal of Law Property and Society, and Washburn Law Journal amongst others. His current work profiles tensions in urban land use and housing redevelopment and homeless displacement. He is currently working on a book relating to Squatters and State Resilience, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, and another book comparing modes of vulnerable houses also forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. He is also the lead editor for Property and the Public Interest, with Carolina Academic Press.

Before joining Southern University he held appointments at the University of Missouri, University of Tulsa, the University of LaVerne, and Savannah Law School. He has been a Fulbright Specialist and has been a visiting researcher in residence at the University of Essex, and the UNESCO Housing Chair at the Universitat Rovira I Virilli in Tarragona Spain.

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