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Empire
 
 

Empire [Kindle Edition]

Michael Hardt
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's Empire has already caused quite a storm. After "anti-capitalist" demonstrations and books such as Naomi Klein's No Logo and George Monbiot's Captive State, a vacuum seemed to exist for an extensive, coherent philosophical take on where our world is going. Empire seeks to fill that gap by asking where globalisation comes from, what it means and whether or not it is a good or bad thing.

Negri, a Marxist imprisoned for his beliefs and his involvement with the Italian hard-left, and Michael Hardt, an English literature professor who had previously acted as Negri's translator (and the translator of an important, though philosophically more arcane, precursor to Empire, Giorgio Agamben's The Coming Community) have produced a key post-Marxist text (which builds on many of the arguments in Nick Dyer-Witheford's excellent Cyber-Marx) that views its world through lenses bequeathed to it by the best of the French post-structuralists. Negri and Hardt's accomplishment has been to apply the sometimes difficult work of theorists such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (especially A Thousand Plateaus) and Jacques Derrida to describe a world that has undergone a paradigm switch to a new Empire (in a way not dissimilarly than Thomas Keenan does particularly in his chapter on Marx's rhetoric in the much undervalued Fables of Responsibility). According to Negri and Hardt, this 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). Vitally, the authors argue that the multitude, through their many struggles, pushed the world to this point and it is the multitude who can push through to a much better world on the other side of globalisation.

This is an optimistic, wide-ranging, defiant challenge of a book and Negri and Hardt should be commended on their erudition as much as their vision. While questions undoubtedly remain after reading the text, these should not stop the interested reader in coming to, and learning from, this profound piece of work. --Mark Thwaite

Review

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" (06/01/2002)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4960 KB
  • Print Length: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (15 Oct 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HWK8ZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #324,948 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fierce in its attack, sweeping in its scope 29 April 2002
Format:Paperback
Negri and Hardt will be remembered for this work. Books of this intelligence are difficult to find. This book should hearten democratic and progressive students of Socialism and Marxism. Although the prose and referencing lends itself to the academic reader, this does not blunten the strength of its attack on the undemocratic nature of modern capitalism. Readers that don't have a background in political thought might best wean themselves onto this book by digesting a few other books on the history of political thought. Also reading Naomi Klein's No Logo prior will help clarify the reader on the current state of neo-liberal capitalism. As I said above it is not an easy read, but in the end very rewarding. There is hope for a more democratic, equitable future and it lies with thinkers and doers such as Sn Negri and Mr Hardt.
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56 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Hardt and Negri have a gut feeling about the future of global capitalism, one perhaps giving the town-criers of defeat among today's Left at least pause for thought. Neo-Marxists with gut feelings? It could not be otherwise. It is hard to believe there was ever a half-century of such whirlwind change and it is maybe all mortals are entitled to given especially the awesome complexiety of the impact of future science. Chiming with a spate of warnings of ever greater corporate might (most recently, Hertz,Klein and Monbiot), the authors, challenging along the way numerous Left orthodoxies, undertake to reveal its meaning in a far wider historical and philosophical context. There is in the world a new source of authority, a new category by which global politics and culture are understood. Supplanting imperialism is 'empire', which, though no less rapacious, is the creature of the major powers no longer. 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 is a powerfully synthesising, scholarly, impassioned, and for many no doubt an uplifting work. It is of the genre of Fukuyama's The End of History, which in its conservative politics and bad philosophy gets much wrong but whose basic point we fret might ultimately be right.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of genius 8 Oct 2004
Format:Paperback
If you want to understand the contemporary world and the forces affecting the paths of history then start here. Negri's intellect is rigorous and first-rate, his depth of insight outstanding. Normally he writes in a very intellectual style, using technical language and thought that is beyond that of the begginner. Here the writing is more disciplined and coherent, but doesn't lose any of its wealth. His use of historical materialism allows him to endows his work with a strong emprical basis which ensures that is statements are factual and to the point and he doesn't make wooly or doubtful assertions. His analysis of capital and its affects on human life is invigorating in its analysis of past events, prescient in its predictions for our present and future times.
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17 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Empire offers a view of internationalism in the postmodern era and the onset of globalised Imperialism. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in understanding how to combat hidden forms of domination that Negri and Hardt bring to the surface. It's very dense and complicated, but definitely worth it. "Empire" allows readers to recognise current structural powers and where the world economy and foreign powers are headed. Mostly theoretical. Enjoyable.
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9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pompous counterfeit Marxism 26 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback
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.
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