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Empire | Study Guide

Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri

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Course Hero. "Empire Study Guide." April 10, 2020. Accessed May 28, 2023.


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Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri

Year Published






At a Glance

Empire is a political philosophy text that traces the history of imperialism to its modern-day incarnation of "Empire." Imperialism is the policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force. Where once the world had many competing powers, Empire defines a new political order of globalization. Michael Hardt (b. 1960) and Antonio Negri (b. 1933) posit that this new order has no fixed boundaries or limits. Modernism and postmodernism are other cultural developments that have influenced Empire. Modernism marks a movement towards modifying traditional beliefs in accordance with modern ideas that took place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Postmodernism emerged from modernism during the late 20th century, marked by a general distrust of sweeping ideologies. Alongside imperialism, modernism, postmodernism, and Empire, the economic system of capitalism has learned to coexist and take advantage of certain social and political conditions in order to adapt and grow. Capitalism is a system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. Empire prizes hybridity, or the ability to mix different systems. It also prizes mobility, or the ability of people and systems to adapt and move, as well as networks that can convey information and disseminate power.

Empire was considered a well-regarded and influential book from its release, and it is considered one of the most significant works of political philosophy to emerge in the 21st century. The contemporary philosopher Slavoj Žižek (b. 1949) praised it as The Communist Manifesto of the 21st century in reference to the seminal work by Karl Marx (1818–83) and Friedrich Engels (1820–95). The Communist Manifesto dealt with issues of class struggle and the conflicts of capitalism. After its publication, Empire found an unexpected audience outside of academia, a testament to public interest in the topic and the need for a contemporary work on the topic. As a result, Hardt and Negri are considered two of the most significant and respected political philosophers of the 21st century.

About the Title

Empire refers to the concept of a new political order of globalization with no boundaries or limits.


This study guide for Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri's Empire offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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