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Empire

Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri

ISBN 9780674038325

Publication date: 07/01/2009

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.

Praise

  • Michael Hardt and Tony Negri have given us an original, suggestive and provocative assessment of the international economic and political moment we have entered. Abandoning many of the propositions of conventional Marxism such as imperialism, the centrality of the national contexts of social struggle and a cardboard notion of the working class, the authors nonetheless show the salience of the Marxist framework as a tool of explanation. This book is bound to stimulate a new debate about globalization and the possibilities for social transformation in the 21st century.

    —Stanley Aronowitz, author of False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness

Authors

  • Michael Hardt is Professor of Literature and Italian at Duke University.
  • Antonio Negri was an independent researcher and writer. He was formerly a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Paris and a Professor of Political Science at the University of Padua.

Book Details

  • Harvard University Press

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