Beyond Empire?


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The article considers the pertinence of the concept of empire for the continued intelligibility of the configuration of the contemporary international order. The pertinence is examined by tracing its presence in the recent work of Cacciari (The Withholding Power) and the more extended thematization in the work of Hart and Negri. The examination commences from the question of the entwinement of the concept of empire with the framework of political theology and the consequences of the particular inflection that Cacciari confers upon this in The Withholding Power. The difficulties of the Cacciarian approach are then the basis for the turn from political theology to the examination of Hart and Negri’s appropriation of the Polybian politeia as the interconnection between the concept of empire and the elements of a mixed constitution. The character of the appropriation is then indicated to be the preparatory delineation of the contemporary international order whose transformation – that which is beyond empire – arises from a globalization from below comprised of the interconnection of the multitude and the common. It concludes with a reflection upon the notion of the common.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61
Number of pages80
JournalSoft Power Revista euro-americana de teoría e historia de la política y del derecho
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Empire
  • International Order
  • Juridical Form


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