Empire by Michael HardtImperialism 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, todays 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 society--to 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 todays world order, it seeks an alternative political paradigm--the basis for a truly democratic global society.
Hardt and Negri’s Empire
Hardt-Negri's "Empire": a Marxist critique. Although this movement has been closely identified with protests against globalization--albeit not within classical Marxist parameters--Hardt and Negri will have nothing to do with any movement that makes concessions to the idea that "Local differences preexist the present scene and must be defended or protected against the intrusion of globalization. Before turning to part one of "Empire", it would be useful to say a few words about the emergence of post-Marxism. As a theory, it tries to reconcile Marx with postmodernism. From Marx it borrows the idea that capitalism is an unjust system. From postmodernism it borrows the idea that "grand narratives" lead to disaster. While postmodernism had been around since the mids Lyotard's "Postmodern Condition" was published in , the disenchantment with the traditional Marxist project reached a crescendo after , when the Soviet bloc began to collapse and after the Central American revolution had been defeated.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri defiantly overturn the verdict that the last two decades have been a time of punitive defeats for the Left… Hardt and Negri open their case by arguing that, although nation-state—based systems of power are rapidly unraveling in the force-fields of world capitalism, globalization cannot be understood as a simple process of deregulating markets. Spanning nearly pages of densely argued history, philosophy and political theory, it features sections on Imperial Rome, Haitian slave revolts, the American Constitution and the Persian Gulf War, and references to dozens of thinkers like Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hegel, Hobbes, Kant, Marx and Foucault. In short, the book has the formal trappings of a master theory in the old European tradition… [This] book is full of…bravura passages. Whether presenting new concepts—like Empire and multitude—or urging revolution, it brims with confidence in its ideas. Does it have the staying power and broad appeal necessary to become the next master theory? It is too soon to say. But for the moment, Empire is filling a void in the humanities.
Empire and political globalisation. The political constitution of Empire. The authors start out with a discussion of the constitution of Empire in juridical terms on the grounds that j uridical transformations effectively point toward changes in the material constitution of world power and order. Still, the authors, not restricting themselves to the juridical perspective, also analyse the transformation of the paradigm of rule from the perspective of biopolitical production, i. They consider three attempts at resolving the crisis of modernity: the development of the modern sovereign state; the development of the concept of nation and the related concept of people; and, finally, the emergence of colonial sovereignty. Their conclusion is that while colonialism is dialectical, reality is not , thus parting partially from Marxist orthodoxy. In this regard they examine the role the American Revolution played in the innovation of the genealogy of the concept of modern sovereignty, finding in it the bas i s on which a new imperial sovereignty has been formed.
O ver the last decade, a series of works offering a comprehensive vision of the state of the world after the end of the Cold War have enlivened the tenor of mainstream intellectual life. These have sought to capture the experience of American victory over Communism, and lesser adversaries at home and abroad. Conceived in the spirit of monumental portraits of old, depicting a princely commander gazing reflectively out of the canvas, a still smoking battlefield in the far background, the genre has been a speciality of the American Right or indistinguishable Centre. Its various practitioners—Fukuyama, Nye, Huntington, Luttwak, Friedman, Brzezinski—have seized the opportunity to survey the full extent of the field of US hegemony in geo-politics, economics and mass culture. That was to be expected. Yet what is often most striking in this body of work is not so much its crass triumphalism—in some cases, an exaggerated charge—as the sporadically brutal candour with which it registers the harsh realities of the incoming American Century. A sub-tone of foreboding—a still hint of sic transit —lurks in the depths of the canvas.
Post a Comment. Empire is the form of sovereignty that exists under conditions of globalization. Rather sovereignty has been re-scaled from the level of the nation state to the level of the global. Of course, state institutions continue to exist. But now, when governments intervene to keep the peace, their police forces whether in Seattle in the US or in Genoa in Italy act in the name of empire the US in Iraq in much the same way that the US judges act in the name of the American people. Empire is an original contribution to debates over the fate of sovereignty in a globalized world. The second main character in Hardt and Negri's Empire is the multitude.
There is a long tradition of modern critique dedicated to denouncing the dualisms of modernity. What has changed in the passage to the imperial world, however, is that the border no longer exists, and thus the modern critical strategy tends no longer to be effective. Hardt and Negri , p. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide.