Between the Transnational Capitalist Class and Global Civil Society: The Structures of Imperial Protocol

Deterritorial Investigations

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In several past posts, I’ve looked at different ways in which Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s hypothesis of Empire, the current transnational order, is composed and operates through its various methodologies and influences. In one of these, Life in the Shadow of Protocol, Hardt and Negri’s claim that Empire, as a network structure, ala Manuel Castells, operates along two intersecting lines, is examined. In their schema, Empire is composed of both a democratic line and an oligopolistic line: the democratic line, one that exists on a horizontal plane, boasts “an indeterminate and potentially unlimited number of interconnected nodes with no central point of control; all nodes regardless of territorial location connect to all others through a myriad of potential paths and relays.”1 The oligopolistic line, by contrast, is vertical – unlike the unfixed ether of connecting nodes, relays, and paths, the territories here are fixed in place and…

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