Friday, February 01, 2008

The Failure Of The Concept...

.:The Failure Of The Concept:.

Admittedly, I haven't really been able to pore over the text to begin with, but the topic alone, “the problems with the concept of the multitude”, is almost self-explanatory to anyone who has actually read the book. You see, the first thing anyone asks themselves when reading “multitude” is rather simple: what exactly *is* the Multitude?

Throughout the book, Hardt and Negri were skirting the issue without ever making a specific stake on the nature of the Multitude, either because they're post-modernist, therefore always descriptive, never prescriptive, or because they're simply playing it safe, and would rather not make a definite statement so nobody could refute them.

The biggest problem with the concept of the Multitude is it's so vague. The fact that it's vague makes it next to impossible to really identify the Multitude when it's finally there, but gives Hardt and Negri the perfect excuse of saying “it's exactly as we described”, despite the fact that we still have next to no idea what they were trying to get at in the book.

The Multitude is supposed to be a reaction to Empire, but how is it a proper reaction? It would seem that describing the formation of the Multitude is little more than an exercise in mentioning reactions that seem to have little connection to each other in hopes of finding an underlying general movement in all of them. Is this even a valid claim or implication to make? Or is this, quite simply, just a gross assumption that may not really hold water when thought over thoroughly?

The Multitude as a concept fails because its vagueness makes it possible to label anything that topples Empire as the Multitude, even if it's not necessarily the case. It's admittedly difficult to just assume things when even the authors aren't sure what they're talking about.

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