Aidan Beatty
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in Private property and the fear of social chaos
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In this book, I aim to bring the new history of capitalism into a productive conversation with gender studies and critical race theory and to show how the intellectual and cultural history of private property (and of capitalism more broadly) cannot be understood outside the obsessions with race and gender that are inherent to capitalism. The acts of imagination which this book studies – and in which race and gender were so central – were acts of legitimation, as capitalist theorists constructed an image of the ideal world capitalism promises; often constructing that image in conscious opposition to images of dismal, chaotic or violent non-capitalist worlds. A vision of harmonious private property required a vision of a savage order where private property did not receive its due respect. And as I argue in this book, over the last 400 years there has never been a conception of private property, and of the class-structured society it underpinned, that has been free of race and gender.

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