Decolonizing property rights: Indigenous communal rights and the private property paradigm

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UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas. The professional legal elites in Latin America often legitimate the importation of foreign legal models without neither taking enough attention to local contexts nor making a critical analysis of the imported models. This essay analyzes the arguments of a paradigmatic work of this type that affirms the efficiency and superiority of Anglo-Saxon Law in the regulation of property and the achievement of “economic development”, compared with the Law derived from Spanish colonization. The three theoretical sources of the mentioned work are the theory of legal origins, the private property school and a biased vision of colonization. The aim of this essay is to demonstrate that these theoretical sources have deep ethnocentric roots by making invisible the indigenous communal legality in the colonizer project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-964
Number of pages30
JournalBoletin Mexicano de Derecho Comparado
Issue number141
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Communal property
  • Law and development
  • Legal origins
  • Property rights


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