AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details


Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Program Number: 2-0630
Type: Invited Session
Session Title: EMPIRE, MULTITUDE & COMMONWEALTH: THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE GLOBAL IN THE RADICAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY OF ANTONIO NEGRI AND MICHAEL HARDT
Session Sponsor: American Ethnological Society
Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Society for Cultural Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-3:30 PM
Organizer(s): ARA WISON (Duke University), JEFFREY JURIS (Northeastern University) 
Chair(s): SYLVIA YANAGISAKO (Stanford Univeristy) 
Participants:  
1:45 PM: INTRODUCTION: (AAA)  
2:00 PM: PRESENTER: AIHWA ONG (University of California-Berkeley)  
2:15 PM: PRESENTER: ARA WILSON (Duke University)  
2:45 PM: PRESENTER: JOHN KELLY (University of Chicago)  
3:00 PM: PRESENTER: MICHAEL HARDT (Duke University)  
3:30 PM: End of Session
Abstract: Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's trilogy - Empire (2000), Multitude (2004), and Commonwealth (2009) are the major texts of political philosophy to emerge in the 2000s. These texts stage the ambitious argument that globalization has reorganized the worldwide circuitry of power, subjectivity, and resistance. Empire traces new flows of power beyond the historical hegemonies of specific nation states. Multitude investigates emerging mobility of labor associated with the management of life, knowledge, and affect and locates prospects for resistance in these nascent formations. Commonwealth charts the erosion of yet potential for resources for social life that might still be held in common in some fashion, or socialized anew. Negri and Hardt’s theories have become touchstones for analysts of globalization as well as for activists associated with anti-globalization or alter-globalization movements. Their work invites reflection by anthropologists, whose tradition of cross-cultural work and contemporary study of the circulation of capital, bodies, objects, and ideas offer a different perspective on global power formations. Ethnographic responses to Negri and Hardt’s theories can be illustrated by these questions, among others: What are the anthropological implications of this sweeping model of post-national modes of power, resistance, and social life? In what critical and productive ways does anthropology take up Negri and Hardt’s interpretations of transnational trends? How does the ethnographic analysis of heterogenous forms of social power and practice mesh with Negri and Hardt’s visions of empire, multitude and commonwealth? To what extent do these texts resonate with anthropological concepts of power, sociality, or exchange? What are the stakes for understanding contemporary life in relation to the distilled patterns or theoretical terms that characterize Negri and Hardt's arguments? Do their works supplant or recapitulate such other relevant global frameworks as World Systems Analysis, biopolitics, or scientific Marxism? Does the Negri-Hardt epistemology of immanence critique or incorporate ethnographic knowledge? What is the place of cultural alterity or regional specificity in their planetary scope of analysis? And finally, how have Negri and Hardt's texts themselves become objects circulating in the sites ethnographers study? This panel features presentations by anthropologists who are differently engaged with the Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth trilogy followed by commentary by author Michael Hardt. This interdisciplinary conversation between anthropologists and political theorist Hardt will delineate the terms for the critical analysis of social life in the 21st century.



Schedule-at-a-Glance

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at aaameetings@aaanet.org.