Transcendence 2 The Immanence of Empire
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An intensity of opposition to a book can be more revealing of inadequacy in the reader than in the author. Caution on this score should be heightened when the objection is a simple one. With some wariness, then, the objection to Hardt’s and Negri’s Empire pursued here is that its founding ontology of liberation is ultimately at one with the very imperium it is so resolutely directed against.1 In this work and in others, Hardt and Negri would identify liberation with a “constituent power” of pure immanence, an uncontainable power, infinitely protean and continually creative.2 This power is contrasted to a “constituted power” that is always set in a constricting transcendence. Yet Hardt and Negri would also endow the illimitable constituent power with quiddity and measure. They would populate their “common framework,” their “global theory,” with entities to which constituent power is immanent.3 And as their guiding spirits, Deleuze and Guattari, would succinctly counsel: “whenever immanence is interpreted as immanent to Something, we can be sure that this Something reintroduces the transcendent.”4