Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

assertion clustered with possession. The present study and those by Rapoport and Fillenbaum 
(1972) and Takane (1980) found that next closest in meaning to own, following verbs of 
possession and dominion, were verbs of acquisition. Clearly at the psycholinguistic level, 
owning entails the possession of property, dominion over it, and processes of acquisition and 
Judgements were more tentative and disparate concerning the importance of attachment 
(use, like, be used to, protect, be familiar with) to the meaning of owning. As noted earlier, Hume 
(1739/1962) described this feature of ownership as a product of associationistic processes. In 
Rudmin and Berry (1987), attachment criteria were familiarity, knowledge, aesthetics, and utility. 
A description of attachment to property by from a police officer describing the burgiary of his 
own home illustrates this point: 
If you're a victim, it's traumatic. You start looking at little things that were missing and you 
think, ‘Holy Jesus, that may only show up as $10 for insurance purposes, but it's something 
you used, something you’re familiar with, something that provided some memories’. (Cited 
in Rudmin, 1987a, p. 4) 
Two of the verb clusters were marginally related to the meaning of own. Stewardship 
seems to be socially sanctioned management and planning, based on familiarity with the 
property, and not intended for private benefit. There has been little discussion, if any, of 
stewardship in the psychological literature; however, it has always been a major part of 
Christian theories of property (Schlatter, 1951; Tawney, 1926). Covetousness (desire, want, 
need, cherish) seems to replicate the cluster of need, lack, and want found by Rapoport and 
Fillenbaum (1972) and.Takane (1980). Hide was the only one of the 24 verbs examined which 
clearly did not contribute to the meaning of own. 
Thus, one conclusion following from this study and the related psychologistic research is 
that owning entails possession, dominion, acquisition and, to a marginal degree, attachment, 
stewardship and covetousness. 
The hypothesis that owning is related to interpersonal dominance also finds support. 
James (1890), Cooley (1902), Isaacs (1933), Lattke (1936), and many others have reported 
dominance to be an important component of children’s property behavior. Laborit (1978) has 
provided a-biological explanation of property as an expression of dominance; Manz and Gioia 
(1 983) have provided a more social psychological explanation; and Study 1 provided an 
explanation from cultural ecology. In the present study, the Dominance trait correlated with own 
having more of a meaning of dominion, whereas, Abasement, the opposite trait to Dominance.

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