This essay explores the conceptual dimensions of Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. In basic terms, it takes the authors seriously when they claim the notion is not a metaphor nor a description, but a concept. Linking this claim to the constructivist philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, it argues that the book is an attempt to transpose a series of new conceptions of power developed over the 1960s and 70s onto the plane of concrete political, historical and ethnographic analysis. The essay also aims to show in the process that the concept of 'Empire' only really becomes operative when accompanied by its correlate 'multitude' - like the former, a conceptual entity that not only enables us to analyze the present but also to discern lines of action in the spaces it traces.
Power; Politics; Identity; Alterity; Multitude; Empire