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Commonwealth (Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  235 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
When "Empire" appeared in 2000, it defined the political and economic challenges of the era of globalization and, thrillingly, found in them possibilities for new and more democratic forms of social organization. Now, with "Commonwealth," Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conclude the trilogy begun with "Empire" and continued in "Multitude," proposing an ethics of freedom fo ...more
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published 2009 by Belknap
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Disclaimer: I'm not the most-informed person to review this - I've only read Empire some years ago (and had mixed feelings on it), but I was able to figure out what 'the multitude' was easily enough. I'm only passingly familiar with some of their theoretical background of Hegel, Kant, Spinoza, Marx. Foucault a little bit, but less so. Habermas and Deleuze are mysteries to me. So skip this ramble if you are more informed than I.

Empire was a very scathing review of modern globalization, providing
Aug 31, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
Yes, it's really theoretical and abstract. That's what words are. It's the best I've come across regarding revolution. We need to rethink our most intimate relationships. Change will be hard!! Violent! The hardest change will be what is closest... our identities, families and relationships. When we stop producing detrimental relationships at "home," only then can we produce an environmentally and socially just society.
Feb 17, 2011 Andrea rated it liked it
This was...more frustrating than anything, and that in spite of the fact that I agree with some of what they argue though I'm sure I don't understand all of it. It probably deserves a little more time and thought, but I haven't more. I also have not read Empire or Multitude, being more interested in the idea of the commons and how resistance is built.

First, and this is a general rhetorical question, I'd like to know just who the hell the academic left keeps writing for, if not simply each other.
I was a bit intimidated by this book before starting (it's on my diss reading list, and it's probably the longest and most theoretically heavy book in my neoliberalism list). But once I got into it, this book is fabulous. Hardt and Negri theorize the end of capitalism and a shift to a biopolitical labor system based on the construction of the common, which they define not only as the natural common (water, air, land, nature, etc.) but also the cultural common (speech, ideas, gesture, expression, ...more
Geoffrey Fox
Oct 03, 2015 Geoffrey Fox rated it really liked it
Shelves: revolution
Stimulating because of the questions it raises, not because of the answers for which we shall have to continue to grope. Or perhaps there are no answers to what is becoming of this world, where nation, state, class have become so diffuse that they seem empty categories. The authors' tearing apart of the category "modernity" is one of their major contributions, allowing us to recognize the complexity of global changes. As the 19th and most of the 20th century had it, the capitalist, industrialize ...more
Jan 02, 2013 Bradley rated it liked it
Empire and Multitude covered most of this ground. Just the exact same message, old hat by all accounts.
Alix J
Sep 16, 2012 Alix J rated it liked it
There's a lot to like here - a vision of social change that takes seriously the capacities we already have; a politic of the commons that pushes past the public/private divide; a respect for multiplicity that refuses liberal multi-culti melting pots. But there's plenty left to be desired. I was troubled by the authors' easy ranking of revolution-arity (in which the satisfaction of immediate needs, as well as the affirmation of identities under siege, come out looking frustratingly counter-revolu ...more
Jan 16, 2013 Eric rated it liked it
Some of what they say should be taken with a grain of salt, and I can easily nod along with the usual criticisms thrown at Hardt and Negri (though I would argue for some separation from "art and artist")... BUT, it is quite readable overall (even when you will shake your head in disagreement), even though sometimes too flowery. In particular the chapter concerning to the role of the metropolis in today's society and the power of encounters is vital reading to those interested in cities. (note, I ...more
Sep 15, 2013 John rated it really liked it
The follow-up to Empire replaced the multitude with the common, which H & N see as an alternative to both privatized and public modes of ownership. As with Empire, at some points they offer notable insights or provocative theories; at others they seem entirely off-base and nothing more than speculative.
Feb 01, 2010 Ryan rated it really liked it
it's good stuff . . . sometimes too abstract in its imaginings, but maybe that's the point at this stage in the game. theory practice theory practice theory practice constant revision. definitely worth the read, but i wish i'd had more hegel first. it makes reading "multitudes" kinda superfluous.
May 11, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
This is the best of the trilogy-- particularly their development of the political concepts of love and expanding upon the notion of the common. Of course, they still fail to advance the feminist elements of autonomism and remain rather abstract about everything.
Jul 31, 2011 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wish-wash of interesting ideas and head in the clouds rubbish. Overall an interesting attempt to re-think Marxism for today's capitalism, but methodologically insufficient, and needs to be backed by more material, less speculative research.
Scott Neigh
This warrants a full and detailed review, which I may or may not have time to write. In brief: Lots of very enticing ideas, but also plenty that feels like it might be flights into fantasy. Worth reading.
Patric Esh
Jul 16, 2013 Patric Esh rated it really liked it
it's call about love. The only way to make the change.
Oct 25, 2011 Torsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das passende Buch zur Occupy-Bewegung!
Jan 12, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Whoever you are, you should read this book.
I figger that, if Hardt reads my blog,the least I can do is read his book. :p
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Michael Hardt is an American literary theorist and political philosopher perhaps best known for Empire, written with Antonio Negri and published in 2000. It has been praised as the "Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century."
Hardt and his co-author suggest that what they view as forces of contemporary class oppression, globalization and the commodification of services (or production of affects), hav
More about Michael Hardt...

Other Books in the Series

Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri (3 books)
  • Empire
  • Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire

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“The intellectual is and only can be a militant, engaged as a singularity among others, embarked on the project of co-research aimed at making the multitude. The intellectual is thus not 'out in front' to determine the movements of history or 'on the sidelines' to critique them but rather completely 'inside.” 8 likes
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