Michele Spanò

Zweckvermögen. On how to legally destitute the subject

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This essay focuses on Zweckvermögen: a legal tool forged by Alois Brinz in the XIX century in order to link a patrimony with no owner to a scope. This way of reshaping the problem of the relationship between rights and subjects shifting from entitlement to function, tough minor and unfortunate, is very useful in reconsidering the dichotomy between subject and object that still structures private law today. Brinz’s theory not only sheds light on the antinomies that at the very same time runs through and constitute modern private law but it helps in unpacking them and in embracing new theoretical paths. Since the strong nexus between patrimony, ownership and capital is the crucial manoeuvre in the modern legal establishment of the social relationship of capital, Zweckvermögen allows to think of both legal forms and forms of subjectivity outside this framework.


  • Alois Brinz
  • legal history
  • legal subject
  • private law theory
  • patrimony


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