No “No Trespassing!” The cultural logic of property rights and their moot pleasures of denial

Mark Webster Hall


The trope of private property may usefully be approached culturally according to its own logic of denial. What is apparently most powerfully denied in the ownership of property is the right of others to take advantage of that property without their being given consent. Among the discursive articulations of this right to exclude are “No Trespassing” and “This [property] is wholly mine”. Suchlike speech acts contribute to an economic subjectivity that wishes, above all, to establish personal liberty through the sovereign practice of ownership. This sovereignty, however, is philosophically inconsistent with a market context that demands that one ceaselessly exchange one’s goods and act as a “guardian” to the commodity form. The pleasure of denying the market itself access to one’s property is thus continually thwarted. This fact discloses multiple tensions within the logic of political economy.





capitalism, subjectivity, speech acts, feudalism, philosophy of economics

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Mark Webster Hall