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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 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 today's world order, it seeks an alternative political paradigm-the basis for a truly democratic global society.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 31.5mm | 549g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • none
  • 0674006712
  • 9780674006713
  • 52,520

Table of contents

Preface 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 Notes Index
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Review quote

Empire...is a bold move away from established doctrine. Hardt and Negri's insistence that there really is a new world is promulgated with energy and conviction. Especially striking is their renunciation of the tendency of many writers on globalization to focus exclusively on the top, leaving the impression that what happens down below, to ordinary people, follows automatically from what the great powers do. -- Stanley Aronowitz The Nation So what does a disquisition on globalization have to offer scholars in crisis? First, there is the book's broad sweep and range of learning. Spanning nearly 500 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. -- Emily Eakin New York Times 20010707 One of the rare benefits to the credit [of the contemporary Empire] is to have undermined the ramparts of the nation, ethnicity, race, and peoples by multiplying the instances of contact and hybridization. Perhaps, at least this is the hope forwarded by these two Marx and Engels of the internet age, it has thus made possible the coming of new forms of transnational solidarity that will defeat Empire. -- Aude Lancelin Le Nouvel Observateur A sweeping neo-Marxist vision of the coming world order. The authors argue that globalization is not eroding sovereignty but transforming it into a system of diffuse national and supranational institutions--in other words, a new 'empire'...[that] encompasses all of modern life. Foreign Affairs The collaboration between American literary theorist and Italian political philosopher has produced a strange and graceful work, of rare imaginative drive and richness of intellectual reference. However counter-intuitive its conclusions, Empire is in its own terms a work of visionary intensity. -- Gopul Balakrishnan New Left Review Globalization's positive side is, intriguingly, a message of a hot new book. Since it was published last year, Empire ...has been translated into four new languages, with six more on the way...It is selling briskly on Amazon.com and is impossible to find in Manhattan bookstores. For 413 pages of dense political philosophy--whose compass ranges from body piercing to Machiavelli--that's impressive. -- Michael Elliott Time 20010723 How often can it happen that a book is swept off the shelves until you can't find a copy in New York for love nor money?...Empire is a sweeping history of humanist philosophy, Marxism and modernity that propels itself to a grand political conclusion: that we are a creative and enlightened species, and that our history is that of humanity's progress towards the seizure of power from those who exploit it. -- Ed Vulliamy The Observer 20010715 Hardt is not just bent on saving the world. He has also been credited with dragging the humanities in American universities out of the doldrums...[Empire] presents a philosophical vision that some have greeted as the 'next big thing' in the field of the humanities, with its authors the natural successors of names such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. Sunday Times 20010715 Hailed as the new Communist Manifesto on its dust jacket, this hefty tome may be worthy of such distinction...Hardt and Negri analyze the multiple processes of globalization...and argue that the new sovereign, the new order of the globalized world, is a decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule...Though Empire ties together diverse strands of often opaque structuralist and poststructuralist theory...the writing is surprisingly clear, accessible, and engaging...Hardt and Negri write to communicate beyond the claustrophobic redoubts of the academy...In short, Empire is a comprehensive and exciting analysis of the now reified concept of globalization, offering a lucid understanding of the political-economic quagmire of our present and a glimpse into the possible worlds beyond it. -- Tom Roach Cultural Critique In their recent book Empire--a highly explosive analysis of globalisation-[the authors] take the effort to develop a full narrative of this new world order, of the global postmodern sovereignty and its counter-currents. It is therefore not so much a book on hybridity only, but rather an attempt to reformulate and redefine the political under conditions of globalisation. The result is a resolute tour de force delineating the genealogy of the postmodern regime as well as its consolidation as a new "society of control" under conditions of world-wide "real subsumption" which creates one smooth, global capitalist terrain. -- Dirk Wiemann Journal for the Study of British Cultures Stretching back nearly twenty years, Antonio Negri's work has been until recently one of the best-kept secrets of Marxist theory in the United States...[Empire] is the culmination of Negri's lifework and a major contribution to Marx's uncompleted work on capitalism's international phase. Beyond its inherent scholarly merit, however, Empire provides a critical tool for understanding what the events following September 11th mean as history and politics. -- Curtis White Bookforum 20020601 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire, by contrast, owes its density not to affected language - indeed, its manifesto - like communicative urgency is one of its greatest strengths - but to the exhilarating novelty of what it has to say...This is as simple, as apparently innocent, and as radically counter-intuitive when thought to its limit as the Sartrean dictum that existence precedes essence must have been in its time. It's not that this relation had never been thought before; the connection between the demands of labor unions and the development of the automated factory is well-known. But in Hardt and Negri's hands this relation becomes a powerful new way to theorize globalization and the development of capital itself... Hardt and Negri perform the urgent task of reclaiming Utopia for the multitude. -- Nicholas Brown Symploke Hardt, an assistant professor of literature and a political scientist (and currently a prison inmate), has produced one of the most comprehensive theoretical efforts to understand globalization. Choice Choice The appearance of Empire represents a spectacular break. 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 de- regulating markets. Far from withering away, regulations today proliferate and interlock to form an acephelous supranational order which the authors choose to call "Empire"...bravely upholds the possibility of a utopian manifesto for these times, in which the desire for another world buried or scattered in social experience could find an authentic language and point of concentration. -- Gopal Balakrishnan New Left Review This sprawling book is filled with original ideas and analyses, including some well-aimed critiques of postmodernism, dependency theory, world systems theory, anti-imperialism, and localism-and there is much more besides to stimulate the reader...this is an exciting and provocative book whose depth and richness can only be hinted at in so brief a review. -- Frank Ninkovich Political Science Quarterly
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About Michael Hardt

Michael Hardt is Professor of Literature and Italian at Duke University. Antonio Negri is an independent researcher and writer. He has been a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Paris and a Professor of Political Science at the University of Padua.
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2,065 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
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4 34% (710)
3 24% (505)
2 9% (181)
1 3% (69)
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