Cultivating and Challenging the Common: Lockean Property, Indigenous Traditionalisms, and the Problem of Exclusion

Contemporary Political Theory 5 (2):193-214 (2006)
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The article takes up and challenges the Lockean conception of common sense and common right to property in two ways: first, through a critical investigation of Locke's historical connection to colonialism, and second, by turning to contemporary indigenous conceptions of common sense. Locke's practical experiences in the founding of Carolina, I argue, serve not simply to explain the problematical colonial impulses of the Second Treatise, but indeed to help undo the credibility of that text's ideological claim to acquire and assimilate. Next, I turn from an internal historicized critique of the Second Treatise to a contemporary external challenge, examining current indigenous perspectives de-legitimized by the Second Treatise. I contend that traditionalized conceptions of indigenous knowledge and understanding provide a strategic revitalization of common sense in ways that re-define and re-characterize the word's roots not only in the common but also in the senses themselves. The article concludes by questioning whether these revitalized 'traditionalisms' — as much as they challenge exclusionary Lockean conceptions of the 'common' and common sense — also carry the risk of denying aspects of indigenous modernity and excluding alternative indigenous conceptions of land and resource use.



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Re-envisioning property.Peter Lindsay - 2018 - Contemporary Political Theory 17 (2):187-206.

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