Empire / Edition 1by Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri
Pub. Date: 09/28/2001
Imperialism as we knew it may be no more, but Empire is alive and well. It is, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri demonstrate in this bold work, the new political order of globalization. It is easy to recognize the contemporary economic, cultural, and legal transformations taking place across the globe but difficult to understand them. Hardt and Negri contend that they should be seen in line with our historical understanding of Empire as a universal order that accepts no boundaries or limits. Their book shows how this emerging Empire is fundamentally different from the imperialism of European dominance and capitalist expansion in previous eras. Rather, today’s Empire draws on elements of U.S. constitutionalism, with its tradition of hybrid identities and expanding frontiers.
Empire identifies a radical shift in concepts that form the philosophical basis of modern politics, concepts such as sovereignty, nation, and people. Hardt and Negri link this philosophical transformation to cultural and economic changes in postmodern societyto new forms of racism, new conceptions of identity and difference, new networks of communication and control, and new paths of migration. They also show how the power of transnational corporations and the increasing predominance of postindustrial forms of labor and production help to define the new imperial global order.
More than analysis, Empire is also an unabashedly utopian work of political philosophy, a new Communist Manifesto. Looking beyond the regimes of exploitation and control that characterize today’s world order, it seeks an alternative political paradigmthe basis for a truly democratic global society.
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Table of Contents
- 1. The Political Constitution of the Present
- 1.1 World Order
- 1.2 Biopolitical Production
- 1.3 Alternatives within Empire
- 2. Passages of Sovereignty
- 2.1 Two Europes, Two Modernities
- 2.2 Sovereignty of the Nation-State
- 2.3 The Dialectics of Colonial Sovereignty
- 2.4 Symptoms of Passage
- 2.5 Network Power: U.S. Sovereignty and the New Empire
- 2.6 Imperial Sovereignty
- Intermezzo: Counter-Empire
- 3. Passages of Production
- 3.1 The Limits of Imperialism
- 3.2 Disciplinary Governability
- 3.3 Resistance, Crisis, Transformation
- 3.4 Postmodernization, or The Informatization of Production
- 3.5 Mixed Constitution
- 3.6 Capitalist Sovereignty, or Administering the Global Society of Control
- 4. The Decline and Fall of Empire
- 4.1 Virtualities
- 4.2 Generation and Corruption
- 4.3 The Multitude against Empire
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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It was a good book I liked it!
I wanted to edge this difficult work up a notch from 3 stars - but with the caveat that you have to be genuinely interested in peripheral trends in international politics to have a real need to read it. I would have thought that Marxists were buried under the rubble of the Berlin Wall, but this book proves me wrong. Though they point out things wrong with capitalism, and criticize the things wrong with the former Soviet Union, they don't see anything wrong with the ultimate end- state of Marxism. Give it up, boys - people aren't good enough for true Marx, so we'll have to settle for just making everyone gradually better off, one sleazy little capitalist at a time. This book would be good fodder for an academic paper.
This book is full of interesting observations that should at least stir some thought as to the true condition of the world.
Hardt and Negri assert that the new Empire of globalisation is essentially a process of emancipation. But it is superficial to see globalisation as basically a political process. It is also a ridiculous prettification of the political processes actually occurring in the world. Is the partition of Iraq part of a process of emancipation? The coups in Honduras and Paraguay? The destruction of Yugoslavia? The ‘ever closer union’ of the EU? According to Mark Thwaite’s review, Negri and Hardt’s new Empire “is the result of the transformation of modern capitalism into a set of power relationships we endlessly replicate that transcend the nation state (so anti-imperialism is out as a progressive politics).” Thwaite claims this book is ‘a key post-Marxist text’. All it shows is that post-Marxism is really just anti-Marxism. So anti-imperialism is ‘out’ - very comforting for the empire’s owners. This is to fetishise empire and to make it impossible to transcend. Hardt and Negri’s ultra-leftism comes full circle. Full of revolutionary rhetoric, they end up worshipping the empire they claim to oppose. Hardt and Negri use the work of French post-structuralist theorists such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Jacques Derrida. A reviewer from France wrote, “There is no 'inside' of metropolitan Capital and an 'outside' of its expansion. It has become territorially unhooked, supervenient, engulfing global social life in its entirety. The gut feeling - "the telos we can feel pulsing" - is that the modulation of imperialism into 'empire' is however just the condition of its vulnerability.” This proves all too well the uselessness of the French post-structuralist theorists. In reality, globalisation is just the liberals’ word for imperialism. Countries are right to assert their sovereignty against imperialism.