2 See, e.g., the record number of references to Empire made in the introductory essays of the Documenta XI catalogue.
3 “In certain ways it’s a very self-contradictory book, which is a good thing, I think.” – declared Michael Hardt, himself, about Empire, in an interview with Ognjen Strpic. See This self-contradictory aspect was, however the source of the multitude of spectacularly divergent interpretations of the book. Some of the reviewers went so far as to say that Empire, despite its claimed radical leftist engagement in fact welcomes the triumph of global capitalism. See, e.g., Rosa Moussaoui’s interview with Slavoj Žižek in: L’Humanité, 04.01.2006 ( or Takis Fotopoulos and Alexandros Gezerlis: „Hardt and Negri’s Empire: a new Communist Manifesto or a reformist welcome to neoliberal globalisation?” (
4 Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin: “Gems and Baubles in Empire” in: Debating Empire, Verso, London and New York 2003, p. 52.
5 “Lineages of Empire” in: Debating Empire, p. 32. Giovanni Arrighi is an author included by Negri and Hardt among those who – in their words – “prepared the terrain for their analysis”. Arrighi’s The Long Twentieth Century (Verso, London and New York 1994) was extensively cited on the pages of Empire. In Lineages of Empire, among other things, Arrighi also comments on how his earlier assessment of an “emergent condition of world rule” has been “reassessed” later by the authors of Empire and used as one of the central theses of their book.
6 Timothy Brennan: “The Italian Ideology” in: Debating Empire, p. 108. In another, more comprehensive study by him on the book, entitled “The Empire’s New Clothes”(Critical Inquiry, No. 29, 2003) he uses another highly elucidating formulation referring to Hardt and Negri’s general method of argumentation: “Their toolbox approach to an analysis of global sovereignty can thus contain tools that more resemble a magician’s wand, and the authors’ statements can simultaneously hold or not hold, pleasing all parties invested in affirming the interrogative statement.”
7 See, e.g., a list of links to reviews published online by Samir Amin, Gopal Balakrishnan, Takis Fotopoulos and Alexandros Gezerlis, etc., at:
8 See Giovanni Arrighi’s quoted essay (Lineages of Empire, p. 33), in which he simply questions the verity of a number of statements of the book: For instance, after quoting a number of relevant figures referring to the subject matter in question, he concludes: “Hardt and Negri’s assertion of an ongoing supersession of the North-South divide is thus clearly false. Also flawed are their assertions concerning the direction and extent of contemporary flows of capital and labor. [...] These are not the only statements of fact in the narrative of Empire that, on close inspection, turn out to be false.”
9 See an example at the aut-op-sy mailing list archive at:
10 Consider that Empire was the book which provided the fundamental ideas for the basic conception of art exhibitions of the scale of Documenta XI, as it was acknowledged by Documenta XI’s director, Okwui Enwezor, himself (see at: An exception to this rather general trend, worth mentioning, was the prominent art historian and art philosopher Boris Groys, who expressed his univocally critical opinion of Hardt and Negri’s book. See, e.g., his intervention in a public seminar documented in Concepts on the Move, Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam– New York 2002, p. 65 (=Lier en Boog. Series of Philosophy of Art and Art Theory, volume 17).