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Published on Dec 6, 2016
In this webinar, Dr. Laura Ford offers a basic overview of her book project, and discusses ways in which the book is informed by (and may be strengthened further through) engagement with critical realism. A new type of property is making itself felt in our world: intellectual property. This is a category of legal property that includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. This new type of property is increasingly pervasive in everyday life, and is increasing in economic significance. It has spread around the world, and is now instituted in nearly all nations of the world. Dr. Ford's in-progress book is driven by a simple (but very big) question: why? Why did this new type of property emerge? Furthermore, why is this new type of property playing an increasingly significant role in our societies and our economies? In other words, what explains the emergence and expansion of intellectual property?
In the book, Dr. Ford argues that intellectual property emerged as part of the modern nation-state. She locates the first emergence of intellectual property in Eighteenth Century Britain, and shows how intellectual property subsequently emerged in the United States, France, and Germany. Intellectual property, she argues, constitutes an important element in the socio-economic transformations of modernity, and it does so as a vital component of the modern nation-state.