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Michael Hardt

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Empire (2000) - Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri
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Empire (2000) - Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri

    Empire is an influential Marxist text written by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt. The book was published in 2000 and immediately became a bestseller. In general, the book theorizes an ongoing transition from a ¨"modern" phenomenon of imperialism, centered around individual nation-states, to an emergent postmodern construct created amongst ruling powers which they call Empire (the capital letter is distinguishing). They proceed to elaborate a variety of ideas surrounding constitutions, global war, and class.

    It was published by Harvard University Press in 2000 as a 478-page hardcover (ISBN 0674251210) and paperback (ISBN 0674006712).

    The ideas first introduced in Empire (notably the concept of multitude) were further developed in the 2004 book Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, which was also written by Negri and Hardt. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_%28book%29 [Jun 2006]

    [...] 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 Jefferson's 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 Negri's vision of the world materializes, they will undoubtedly be remembered as prophetic. --Eric de Place

    [...] Although written in the abstract language of the graduate seminar, Empire has an ominously pragmatic aim: to undermine faith in the liberal institutions that inform American democracy. It is a poisonous book whose ultimate goal is not to understand but to destroy society. Harvard University Press should be ashamed of publishing it. Sensible citizens should be alarmed that it is glorified by trendy intellectuals and the press. It is sometimes suggested that America’s culture wars are over. The adulation showered upon Empire and its authors, together with the horrible events of September 11, show that the real battles have yet to be joined. -- Roger Kimball

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