Eric's Reviews > Empire

Empire by Michael Hardt
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Mar 03, 09


Empire is a colossal disappointment, moving as it does from an excellent problem statement concerning the state of Marxist intellectualism in the face of a changing formation of capital, then to Foucault's notion of biopower, then to an apologia for the arguments the authors have already called deprecated.

But the borrowing from Foucault is an intellectual red herring. In no sense are Negri and Hardt following Foucault's notions of history, but rather wrapping themselves in his intellectual earnesty in the hopes of disguising the religious faith they've put in their presuppositions. They take Weberian scattershot tours of history, cherry picking this or that event to support an ever-weakening argument. They take pit stops in Baudrillard's way stations with spastic commentary verging on the nonsensical, but end up not at some new formulation, but back at square one: disguising Left Hegelianism as postmodernism.

Once you've read past the first couple of chapters, Empire is just endless recitation of others' ideas recontextualized like a four hundred page undergraduate term paper.

On the bright side, you can find it for free at the Continental Philosophy website.
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