Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

Staub and Noerenberg (1981) similarly found motivational traits of control to be important 
to children’s consideration of the welfare of others. In an experimental study of sharing among 
primary school boys, they found that when boys earned candy, there was a positive relationship 
between locus-of-control scores and their spontaneous sharing. This relationship was not 
evident when candy was acquired as a gift. Staub and Noerenberg (1981) concluded that 
earning the candy resulted in a stronger sense of property rights and a heightened sense of 
success, both of which increased the sense of self-control and power in interactions with peers. 
Sharing is secondary to successful control and possession. 
Owning as Knowing 
Throughout the history of psychological discussion of property, there have been regular 
appearances of the idea that owning is related to knowing. Plato used the metaphor that ideas 
are possessions. Aristotle, the Stoics and the early Christians based owning on moral utility, 
which in turn was based on knowing. Descartes argued that self-knowledge was the highest ot 
the passions and was the foundation of altruism. In the empiricist tradition, the association of 
ideas explained the prescriptive justification for private property. In the nineteenth and 
twentieth centuries, the discussion of owning and knowing appears in three general themes: 
1) possessing is essentially a process of cognitive appropriation, 2) cognitive motivations 
underlie property behaviors, and 3) thoughts, ideas, beliefs, memories, and other cognitive 
objects are possessions. | 
The argument has been made that possession is essentially a cognitive process. For 
example, Chamberlain (1902) opened his cross-cultural philology of “knowing” with the example 
that it means “my, mine”, “that which is with me, essentially mine” in the Aztec language of 
Zapotec. One of the oldest uses of “knowing” in the Western cuitural tradition is of knowing “in 
the Biblical sense”, meaning sexual possession. Sartre (1943/1956) more fully describes the 
relationship of knowing and owning in the metaphor of sexual domination: 
Knowing aiso....is a form of appropriation. That is why scientific research is nothing other 
than an effort to appropriate...In addition the idea of discovery, of revelation, includes an 
idea of appropriative enjoyment. What is seen is possessed; to see is to deflower. If we 
examine the comparisons ordinarily used to express the relation between the knower and 
the known, we see that many are represented as being a kind of violation by sight. The 
unknown object is given as immaculate, as virgin, comparable to a whiteness. It has not yet 
“delivered up” its secret; man has not yet “snatched” its secret away from it...Knowledge 
is assimilation....This impossible synthesis of assimilation and an assimilated which 
maintains its integrity, has deep-rooted connections with basic sexual drives...The idea of 
“carnal possession” offers us the irritating but seductive figure of a body perpetually

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.