Re-forming property to address eco-social fragmentation and rift

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Two concepts that bridge the nature-human divide may help to diagnose and address some of the present and future problems of eco-social change in a legal context. ‘Fragmentation’ refers to loss and degradation of the habitat of nonhuman life. It is also a useful concept for understanding the fracturing of the material conditions for human life in a modern globa-lised world. The notion of ‘metabolic rift’, derived from Marx by John Bellamy Foster, refers to a break in the human-nonhuman circulation of natural materials, brought on by industrial agriculture and urbanisation. These related ideas provide a frame for exploring the connections between social and environmental justice and the role played by legal forms such as private property. In keeping with the imperative to re-form legal concepts to account for eco-social existence, the article presents a view of property as human and nonhuman habitat. This approach aims to use law to help recreate the conditions for the constructive inter-dependence of social and environmental goods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-37
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Human Rights and the Environment
Issue numberSpecial Issue
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Environmental justice
  • Fragmentation
  • Habitat
  • Metabolic rift
  • Property


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