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Today, scholars frequently cite Duguit as the founder of the socialfunction norm. These references, however, seldom go beyond a quick cite to his foundational work on the topic. It seems that little is known about the genesis of his ideas, the sources he employed, and how some of these ideas eventually migrated into contemporary legal systems around the world. This Article seeks to explore the origins of Duguit’s thought on the topic as some necessary background work to the current debate concerning the social function of property.


This article discusses and analyzes the sources and methods used by Leon Duguit in constructing the social-obligation or social-function norm of property as set out in an influential series of lectures in Buenos Aires published in 1912. The work of Henri Hayem has been underappreciated in the development of Duguit's ideas. Hayem should be restored as a central influence on Duguit's thought and as one of the main and earliest proponents of the idea of the social-function norm. The article also examines the influence of Charmont, Comte, Durkheim, Gide, Hauriou, Landry, and Saleilles in Duguit's thought on property and its social function.