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9 hardt and negri.docx

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Kevin P.Coleman

of 1
„The New Science of Democracy: Madison and Lenin‟ by Hardt and Negri is
primarily about the multitude. Firstly the multitude is an important factor of Beasley-
Murray‟s Posthegemony theory and was used to argue against hegemony theory.
Hardt and Negri discuss three main aspects of multitude. An ontological perspective,
sociological perspective, and the one they spend the most time discussing is the
political perspective. Throughout the reading they relate the multitude as a form of
From an ontological perspective the multitude is a production of the social life
and generated by continuous encounters and communications with bodies (So could I
say it‟s the multitude is generated by continuous „affects‟ with other people. From
Lecture March 12).
From a sociological perspective the power of the multitude (called constituent
power?) is built by „cooperative and communicative‟ networks. Hardt and Negri term this
„social labor‟.
Hardt and Negri find that the purpose of the multitude is essentially political. They
see the multitude as having to eliminate sovereignty (which according to Hardt and
Negri is a relationship between the ruled and the rulers) and authority to create a new
democratic institution based on a new constitution and the existing conditions formed by
the multitude. Naturally the multitude creates the a division between the rulers and the
ruled and it will only be natural for there to be a resistance to the sovereignty. The
sovereignty is peaceful and uses political means but when the power of this dual
relationship of ruled and rulers begin to slip sovereignty turns to the use of violence.
They point to James Madison and his work as a source from which to build: “The
writings of James Madison in the Federalist Papers provide a method for such a
constitutional project, organized through the pessimism of the will-creating a system of
checks and balances, rights and guarantees. a mode of maintaining an equilibrium of
social classes”
Furthermore they see a need for the multitude to be more realist and for such
actions by the multitude to be properly timed.