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Empire by Antonio Negri
Absolutely Epic
Empire is a sweeping book with a big-picture vision. Michael Hardt and
Antonio Neg...
constitutional democracy to the Chiapas revolution in a far-ranging
analysis of our contemporary situation. Unfortunately,...
In Marxist theory the bourgeois is believed to be coeval with the
interests of capitalism. As a result, it uses this mode ...
biopower (also know as biopolitical production) are one and the same: both
autonomously propel the production and reproduc...
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Empire by antonio negri absolutely epic


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Empire by antonio negri absolutely epic

  1. 1. Empire by Antonio Negri Absolutely Epic Empire is a sweeping book with a big-picture vision. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue that while classical imperialism has largely disappeared, a new empire is emerging in a diffuse blend of technology, economics, and globalization. The book brings together unlikely bedfellows: Hardt, associate professor in Duke Universitys literature program, and Negri, among other things a writer and inmate at Rebibbia Prison in Rome. Empire aspires to the same scale of grand political philosophy as Locke or Marx or Fukuyama, but whether Hardt and Negri accomplish this daunting task is debatable. It is, however, an exciting book that is especially timely following the emergence of terrorism as a geopolitical force. Hardt and Negri maintain that empire--traditionally understood as military or capitalist might--has embarked upon a new stage of historical development and is now better understood as a complex web of sociopolitical forces. They argue, with a neo-Marxist bent, that the multitude will transcend and defeat the new empire on its own terms. The authors address everything from the works of Deleuze to Jeffersons
  2. 2. constitutional democracy to the Chiapas revolution in a far-ranging analysis of our contemporary situation. Unfortunately, their penchant for references and academese sometimes renders the prose unwieldy. But if Hardt and Negris vision of the world materializes, they will undoubtedly be remembered as prophetic. --Eric de Place Personal Review: Empire by Antonio Negri eneral Summary In Empire political theorists Hardt and Negri describe a new form of global sovereignty called Empire. Unlike the modernist era which privileged the nation-state as the primary site of social organization and command, Empire is distinctly postmodern and ascribes to no central source of power. In replace of central power, rallied around the nation-state, sovereignty has evolved into a diffuse network of decentered nodal points. These nodal points include multinational corporations, nation-states, NGOs, and supranational institutions, all of which simultaneously vie for political and capitalistic hegemony. Empire''s evolving political logic, while frightening to the extent that it attempts to reproduce global hierarchy, is, according to Hardt and Negri, a response to a crisis in capitalism that emerged sometime after 1968. While Empire is indicative of a new global order, then, Hardt and Negri view it as "better than the forms of society and modes of production that came before it" (43). Whereas previous historical epochs relied on repressive measures such as the Fordist assembly line to regulate subjectivity and discipline behavior, Empire''s modes of subjectification are increasingly decentered and fragmented. This weakness in empire- a shift corresponding with the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism- is ultimately what can allow for the multitude, the locus of all production in late capitalist society, to "enter the terrain of Empire and confront their homogenizing and heterogenizing flows in all their complexity" (46). Hardt and Negri''s work, as a result, reads as the "Communist Manifesto" of the 21st century; it takes Marx and Engel''s theory of historical materialism and situates it in the radically different contours of late capitalist society. Key concepts Disciplinary societies Hardt and Negri argue that the modernist era was characterized by a typology of social reproduction called disciplinary societies. In disciplinary societies "social command is constructed through a diffuse network of dispositifs or apparatuses that produce and regulate customs, habits, and productive practices" (p. 23). In disciplinary societies, then, power is consolidated in particular material localities such as the factory line, the prison, the school, and the psychiatric ward. This structuralist epistemology-- which views a transcendent outside as subjectifying an immanent inside-- corresponds with the model of ideology theorized by Marx and Engels.
  3. 3. In Marxist theory the bourgeois is believed to be coeval with the interests of capitalism. As a result, it uses this mode of production to discipline and reproduce the immanent productive forces of the proletariat. In late capitalism, however, as Hardt and Negri argue, immanence is no longer limited to the category of the proletariat. In the era Empire, a multiplicity of subject positions have all become immanent to capitalism, a consequence that derives from the emergence of immaterial labor and the global division of labor. This new terrain of immanence, then, requires a new conceptual framework, and for this Hardt and Negri turn to the concepts of control societies and biopolitical production. Control societies Societies of control are peculiar to postmodernity and coincide with the transition from capital''s formal subsumption of labor to its real subsumption of labor. In this stage of capitalist production- a shift brought about by the multitude- "mechanisms of command become ever more `democratic,'' ever more immanent to the social field" (23). In contrast to disciplinary societies, societies of control function immanently. They do not require any disciplinary practices (such as Fordism and Taylorism) to reproduce and expropriate productive social relationships. With the emergence of immaterial labor, life itself has become open to capital''s command. As a result, capital can extract surplus value without even intervening politically or ideologically. This decentered form of govermentality, that characterizes societies of control, is ultimately empire''s weakness, since its axes of repression are simultaneously its axes of transgression. Biopolitical production Biopower is a concept that originates with Michel Foucault and is used to describe "a form of power that regulates social life from its interior" (23). Foucault developed the concept of biopower as an alternative to the Marxian concept of ideology. Whereas ideology theory is interested in the way mystification takes place at the level of discourse, biopower is concerned with the way discourses and bodies are brought into being simultaneously as a "structure of feeling." The result is that biopower challenges the dual ontology between materiality and discourse, it demonstrates that discourses not only reproduce particular types consciousness (such as the bourgeois ideology) but also produce the corporeal, somatic, and affective properties of individual subjectivity. As a mode of subjectification, biopolitical production could only develop in the modernist era; it could only exist in a time when the life sciences and research on eugenics were accorded fundamental values. Nevertheless, it is only in societies of control (or, in other words, postmodernity) that biopower has become the sole motor of social reproduction. While modernity used biopower as a tool for regulating the subjectivity of particular populations, in postmodernity biopower has subsumed the social bios as a whole. To this end, control societies and
  4. 4. biopower (also know as biopolitical production) are one and the same: both autonomously propel the production and reproduction of global capitalist society. Immanence Immanence corresponds with the ideas of control societies and biopolitical production insofar as it views social organization as produced and reproduced prior to any model of human subjectification (e.g., Marx''s base/superstructure, Freud''s conscious/unconscious, etc.). At the same time, however, immanence is a transcendent concept; it is the Real (in the Lacanian sense) ontological state of being that exists prior to any dualistic human mediation. As a philosophical standpoint immanence reaches its zenith in the work of Baruch Spinoza who argued in the mid 17th century that man, nature, and god were one and the same to the extent that all move evanescently along the same plane of existence. Because of this belief in the immanent power of humanity, Hardt and Negri argue that Spinoza was the first genuine philosopher of modernist thought. Spinoza''s locating of the plane of immanence, nevertheless, was quickly undermined by a second set of (enlightenment) modernist thinkers such as Descartes, Hobbes, Hegel, and Marx. In their belief in the power of man to triumph over nature, all of these thinkers posed "a transcendent constituted power against an immanent constituent power, order against desire" (74). It is not until Nietzsche, Bergson, and later Deleuze that Spinoza''s ontology of immanence became revitalized as a philosophical vantage point. In fact, it is Deleuze (the thinker which Hardt and Negri are most indebted to) who takes this heretical assemblage of thinkers to their logical conclusion, by developing a whole vocabulary of philosophical concepts centered on the Spinozian ideal of immanence. From an immanentist perspective, then, society always moves forward in a perpetual process of becoming. Its discourses, institutions, and technological processes are lines of flight that propel humanity forward. To this end, an immanent ontology is absolutely materialist (though not dialectical); it views history as the ultimate arbiter of human subjectivity. Postmodernization Hardt and Negri- echoing the thought For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: Empire by Antonio Negri 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!