#lookingforwardto Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting

Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting

Vulnerable Demons

Edited by Lorna Fox O’Mahony, David O’Mahony, Robin Hickey


This collection of critical essays considers the criminalisation of squatting from a range of different theoretical, policy and practice perspectives. While the practice of squatting has long been criminalized in some jurisdictions, the last few years have witnessed the emergence of a newly constituted political concern with unlawful occupation of land. With initiatives to address the ‘threat’ of squatting sweeping across Europe, the offence of squatting in a residential building was created in England in 2012.

This development, which has attracted a large measure of media attention, has enormous political, social and legal significance. It has been widely regarded as a controversial policy departure, with many commentators, Parliamentarians, and professional organisations arguing that its support is premised on misunderstandings of the current law and a limited and precarious evidence-base concerning the nature and prevalence of ‘squatting’.

This collection explores the significance of measures to criminalize squatting, both in Engand and in other jurisdictions, for squatters, owners and communities. It also uses these measures as a point of departure from which to interrogate wider themes relating to political philosophy, social policy, criminal justice and the nature of ownership.

Overall, then, this book consider how the assimilation of squatting to a contemporary punitive turn is shaping the political, social, legal and moral landscapes of property, housing and crime.

Lorna Fox O’Mahony, David O’Mahony and Robin Hickey, Introduction

Part I. The state: critical perspectives on criminalisation in the neo-liberal state

1. Neil Cobb, The Political Economy of Trespass: Re-visiting Marxist Analysis of the Law’s Response to Squatting

2. David O’Mahony and Lorna Fox O’Mahony, Crime as property: a restorative perspective on the criminalisation of squatting and the ‘ownership’ of unlawful occupation

3. Bonnie Holligan, Criminalisation of Squatting: Scottish Lessons?

Part II. The squatter: vulnerability, lifestyle, protest and political rhetoric

4.Theodora Middleton, The Role of Rhetoric in the Criminalisation of Squatting

5. ETC Dee and Deanna Dadusc, Criminalisation and its Discourses in England and in the Netherlands: A comparative study

6. Kesia Reeve, Criminalisation of the poor: squatting, homelessness, and social welfare

Part III. The land owner: protecting property and adverse possession

7. Robin Hickey, ‘Property’s Voice: Judicial Constructions of the ‘Squatter’ in Adverse Possession Claims

8. Emma Waring, Adverse Possession: Relativity to Absolutism

9. Sally Brown Richardson, Adverse Possession, an ex ante tool

10. Lucy Finchett-Maddock, A Political Aesthetics of Squatting: Entropy, Criminalisation and the Changing Architecture of Adverse Possession


%d bloggers like this: