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Empire

(Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,165 ratings  ·  103 reviews
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 sho ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published 2001 by Harvard University Press (first published 2000)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Empire (Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri), Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt
Empire is a book by post-Marxist philosophers Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Written in the mid-1990's, it was published in 2000.
Imperialism as we knew it may be no more, but empire is alive and well. It is, as the authors demonstrate in this work the new political order of globalisation. It is easy to recognise the contemporary economic, cultural, and legal transformations taking place across the globe but difficult to unders
...more
Kelly
It is difficult, I think, to read a work considered “new” and/or “groundbreaking” in the very recent past after the ideas it contains have become pervasive- and not necessarily because the work ‘broke the story’ about them- and are still very active in society. Due to the many years of debate on an issue afterwards, reading the original argument can end up, through a kind of auditory dissonance, being aligned with the naïfs of the present or, even worse, the apocalyptic extremes that some people ...more
Jesse
Oct 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
With respect to the authors of this strange, postmodern Marx-masturbation fest, I felt my intelligence insulted on "many levels of consciousness" and, even more strangely, given the ostensibly anti-transcendent intent of this book, condescended to from an altogether transcendent plane of existence. I shall not feign an understanding of this book in order to review it; I simply shall say I read it and felt at times rather intensely stimulated in a subjective way. But when the sun sets upon the co ...more
DoctorM
Well, it's...very...provocative. Not to say annoying. "Empire" was billed as the Next Big Thing--- the first Deleuze/Guattari postmodern revisioning of Marxist ideas of international politics, the path through the rhizome to 21st-century visions of re-territorialised or post-territorial empire. And it's interesting on an abstract level--- the book is rather good at deploying postmodern and post-structuralist authors to make its point. Though...the actual concrete political thoughts here really a ...more
Jim Coughenour
Jul 19, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: europeanhistory
An astonishing book – unfortunately, the herculean effort required to translate its tortured academese into intelligibility yields minimal insight. "Theory" guaranteed to neutralize any activist, but one star for sheer chutzpah.
Will
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book is a mess. Their understanding of economics and technological change is superficial at best. For former Marxists, their lack of economic analysis is really surprising. Their use of the term "multitude" comes off like jargon, even though its rooted in Spinoza.
Ekul
Absolutely brutal read. Works through centuries of Western philosophy and tries to portray the modern, globalized world as "Empire," a seemingly totalitarian structure of global capitalism. I disagree with their conclusions and find that there has not been as significant of a paradigm shift as Hardt and Negri argue. At times, the neo-Marxist jargon is so difficult and vague that the work overall feels weak.

Moreover, there are no people in the book, with the exception of the "multitude" (whatever
...more
Robert
Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
I have the same issue with this book as I do most books of the genre, and it is a money making genre btw. My problem is lack of realistic resolution or proposal for solution. The critique, as is the case in most of these types of books was pretty accurate. Of course there was the overgeneralization us v. them archetype, but it is necessary to make the story compelling. Also, at the end of the day this is a narrative not a history.
The critique which is essentially Marxism applied to modern globa
...more
Scriptor Ignotus
A flawed but critical reconsideration of Marxism for the Post-Cold War era. With revolutionary leftism seeming to all but evaporate after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the final major barrier to the global capitalist system, Hardt and Negri took on the task of reformulating the marxist conception of class struggle and the materialist conception of history for a post-modern, post-industrial society in which liberal capitalism is ubiquitous as a hegemonic ideology.

Their star
...more
Christoph
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hardt and Negri have developed a post-modern tour de force with Empire. They have systematically identified the shortcomings of modern capitalism while maintaining the vernacular and spirit of avant philosophical thought. Developing on the work of Baudrillard, Foucault, and Deleuze/Guatarri, perhaps the most cogent critique of contemporary capitalist hegemony has been achieved.
By diagraming the development of capatalism from its hierarchial origins to its modern decentralized form of oppression
...more
Eric
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 earn
...more
Baris
Feb 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comps
disclaimer: I could not read the entire book.
This book is dated, overrated, boring, lacks focus and non-original. Avoid it.
Gráinne Ní Choinn
While the blurb for Empire compares it to Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto, the clear comparison is Lenin's Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Written in 1915, Imperialism provided a political-economic paradigm that ended up defining much of the twentieth century, inspiring dozens of decolonial struggles as well as worldwide New Left movements. Imperialism describes a paradigm that has long since disappeared, but it remains immensely influential in left circles in this continent ...more
Alexander Smith
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a patchwork of theories that have been synthesized at a blistering pace. What makes this masterful is that it does so in a way that enlightens us to a new paradigm of governance, power, and economy. The downside of this is that there are so many open questions and ways in which this book does not deal well with someone on the look out for paradoxes in theories that are suddenly mashed together. This book is not a functioning body; it's an undead, unawakened Frankenstein.

I can use th
...more
Mike
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
What I found most interesting about this one was the focus it had on transnational politics, political bodies larger than nations spanning around the globe. Where I am from (the U.S.) people across the political spectrum are protective of the nation as a sort of top-level political entity. We talk of building fences, preventing outsourcing, national security, etc. Perhaps the nation—at least as we have known it since the 19th century—is due for a change.

I've seen some criticism that this book is
...more
Jillian
Jan 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 postin ...more
solidad
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a book! Not easy going, be prepared to give some times to work through the muck and mire - if I could, I'd knock off half a star for its academese. Someone seriously needs to write a short book or pamphlet breaking down why this book is important, and more critically, how to make sense of what they're positing without taking the days or weeks it takes to digest it all.

Short version: combine Foucaultian biopolitics with the militancy and self-affirming collectivization and resistance o
...more
Robin
Mar 09, 2008 marked it as to-read
"Certainly, there must be a moment when reappropriation [of wealth from capital] and selforganization [of the multitude] reach a threshold and configure a real event. This is when the political is really affirmed—when the genesis is complete and self-valorization, the cooperative convergence of subjects, and the proletarian management of production become a constituent power. […] We do not have any models to offer for this event. Only the multitude through its practical experimentation will offe ...more
sologdin
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
kinda the major statement arising out of the confrontation of D&G style postmodernism with marxism proper regarding actually existing imperialism. labor intensive, but very much worthwhile. ...more
Jesse Morrow
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Imagine that between the fall of the Berlin Wall and before the dot com bubble you tried from a Marxist perspective to explain the post-Cold War order. This is the book.

The foundation of the new "Empire" transcends old imperial and neocolonial models. Capital is the control of information either through networks or through finance. What had been the core of capitalism - industrialization is being pushed to the periphery just as agriculture had been in the first stage of capitalism.

While Hardt an
...more
Freddy Cleveland
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I have trouble with their seemingly arbitrary terminology. I mean... "Empire" as different than "Imperialism," with "imperial" and "imperialist" being historically different categories?

As far as I understand it, they categorize "Empire" and "Imperial" as post-modern categories - an attempt to absorb everything into a political/economic "internal." This differs from the historical, "modern" "Imperialism" in that imperialism sought to colonize and exploit the external/Other.

The difference is well
...more
Erika
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
EMPIRE - 4.5/5 stars

Empire is a deeply important tome of philosophy for me. It put a name on so many things I had already understood and internalized. I don't even know how to get started here. It's a confusing book (hence 4.5/5 stars), but the lessons it teaches are so important. In essence:

1. globalist capitalism, as it exists now, rules us all in this large monolithic thought bubble that concentrates power in the hands of elite folks who can't be pinned down.
2. the market is being used to div
...more
John
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are some useful things in this book for us, an explanation of the recent US expeditions in the Balkans as a patent plunder of material resources for the machine of imperialism has and does cover for some gross remnants in the left that repeatedly fail to distinguish between the transparent cases of securing expanding markets, and those in which the domination serves long-term strategic interests. the authors’ discussion of the relationship between nationalism and populism is particularly i ...more
Aaron Schuschu
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Discusses the idea that just war theory implies empire. Thorough treatment of Machiavelli. References unpublished volumes of Marx's Capital. Discusses the internet decentralizing labor; and for that reason, living wages make sense (though it's unclear how that even follows). Touches on the question of the existence of diffuse power structures.
sreenidhi
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A post Marxian view of capitalism today and how it maintains its global hegemony. It gives you a clear picture of the changes in labor and proletariat over the century. However the authors views on many levels often feels utopian and edges on wild imagination. Though they have been able to grapple with the real nature of capitalism, the way out of it seems haphazardly imagined.
Kelly Roger Lemieux
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A new masterwork describing the new world we live in. A "Marx and Engels of the Internet age" as Aude Lancelin puts it. Dense, difficult, and illuminating, I felt like a criminal reading this philosophy book because it is Marxist. Free Speech, Freedom Of Assembly, Free Thought, Free Love. Hardt and Negri really have explained the big picture on Planet Earth today. We are a US Empire.
Steve
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perceptive and pellucid, Hardt and Negri provide a convincing description and demarcation of postmodern capital. The final section gradually succumbs to more ambiguous recommendations, posed in still-beautiful writing.
Michael G
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Return of the Jedi in a world where we accept Das Kapital and Anti-Oedipus as the first installments. It's fun and still timely in many regards but lacks clarity the closer it gets towards making positive claims and demands.
Kristina Požgaj
Aug 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Had to read the first 100 pages for a class and I gotta say I HATE THIS BOOK. It's boring and it's trash. Thankfully I passed my exam and don't have to see this book ever again. Don't torture yourselves and avoid it at all costs.
Derek Brown
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Turns a bit repetitive in the third act, but of course important and revolutionary.

“This is the irrepressible lightness and joy of being communist.”
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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
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Other books in the series

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

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“Throughout the world what remains of the vast public spaces are now only the stuff of legends: Robin Hood’s forest, the Great Plains of the Amerindians, the steppes of the nomadic tribes, and so forth… Rousseau said that the first person who wanted a piece of nature as his or her own exclusive possession and transformed it into the transcendent form of private property was the one who invented evil. Good, on the contrary, is what is common.” 18 likes
“- ما يتجلى هنا ليس منطقا جديدا بل سيناريو جديد لأفعال عقلانية مختلفة، أفق نشاطات ومقاومات وإرادات ورغبات ترفض نظام الهيمنة، وتقترح مخارج هروب، وتجترح مسارات تأسيس بديلة. وهذا الأساس الحقيقي القابل للنقد يمثل المرجع الوجودي الحقيقي للفلسفة، أو الحقل المناسب حقا لإحدى فلسفات التحرير. ولا يلبث هذا الموقف أن يقطع صلته منهجيا مع كل فلسفة للتاريخ بمقدار ما يرفض أي فهم حتموي جبري لتطور التاريخ وأي احتفال "عقلاني" بالنتيجة. إنه يبين ،على النقيض من ذلك، كيف يكون الحدث التاريخي كامنا في الإحتمال...
- ليست الفلسفة بومة منيرفا التي تحلق بعد تحقق التاريخ احتفالا بنهايته السعيدة، بل تبقى الفلسفة،بالأحرى، طرحا ذاتيا، رغبة، ونظرية مستمدة من الممارسة العملية ويجري تطبيقها على الحدث”
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