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Empire, Global Capitalism, and Theory: Reconsidering Hardt and Negri

The Diversity of Social Theories

ISBN: 978-0-85724-821-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-822-0

Publication date: 12 October 2011


It has been over a decade since the publication of Michael Hardt and Antoni Negri's widely read Empire, a book that claimed humanity had entered a qualitatively new era in the organization of power. How do critical sociological studies that also theorize global capitalism depart from or share affinities with Hardt and Negri's Foucauldian-inspired notion of empire? The two most important shared insights is the notion of a new epoch in the history of world capitalism and the conceptualization of a global system that moves beyond the idea of U.S. imperialism solely as behind its fundamental structure. However, overpowering Hardt and Negri's framework are some fundamental problems: the vague and nondialectical idea of multitude, the lack of the role of the state, their confusing and contradictory idea of constitutionalism, and a misapprehension of immaterial labor.


Sprague, J. (2011), "Empire, Global Capitalism, and Theory: Reconsidering Hardt and Negri", Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) The Diversity of Social Theories (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 187-207.



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