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A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary by Paolo Virno

By Paolo Virno

Globalization is forcing us to reconsider a few of the different types -- similar to "the people" -- that commonly were linked to the now eroding country. Italian political philosopher Paolo Virno argues that the class of "multitude," elaborated through Spinoza and for the main half left fallow because the 17th century, is a better instrument to investigate modern matters than the Hobbesian suggestion of "people," favorite via classical political philosophy. Hobbes, who detested the proposal of multitude, outlined it as shunning political cohesion, resisting authority, and not moving into lasting agreements. "When they insurgent opposed to the state," Hobbes wrote, "the electorate are the multitude opposed to the people." however the multitude isn't only a destructive proposal, it's a wealthy idea that permits us to learn anew plural stories and kinds of nonrepresentative democracy. Drawing from philosophy of language, political economics, and ethics, Virno exhibits that being international, "not-feeling-at-home-anywhere," is a that forces the multitude to position its belief within the mind. In end, Virno means that the metamorphosis of the social structures within the West over the past two decades is resulting in a paradoxical "Communism of the Capital."

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Extra resources for A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life (Semiotext(e) / Foreign Agents)

Example text

Let us say that the multitude is an amphibian category: on one hand it speaks to us of social production based on knowledge and language; on the other hand, it speaks of the crisis of the form-of-State. And perhaps there is a strong connection between these two things. ]. ] is being dethroned" (Schmitt. Der Begriff 10 [note: English translation from the German, by the translators]). One important addition, however, must be made: this monopoly of decision making can be truly taken away from the State only when it ceases for once and for all to be a monopoly, only when the multitude asserts its centrifugal character.

The virtuosity of the speaker is the prototype and apex of all other forms of virtuosity, precisely because it includes within itself the potential/act relationship, whereas ordinary or derivative virtuosity, instead, presupposes a determined act (as in Bach's "Goldberg" Variations, let us say), which can be relived over and over again. But I will return to this point later. It is enough to say, for now, that contemporary production becomes "virtuosic" (and thus political) precisely because it includes within itself linguistic experience as such.

Of course Hobbes was already putting us on alert with reference to the tendency of the multitude to take on the forms of irregular political organisms: "in their nature but leagues, or sometimes mere concourse of people, without union to any particular design, not by obligation of one to another" (Hobbes, Leviathan: 154). But it is obvious that non-representative democracy based upon the general intellect has an entirely different significance: it is in no way interstitial, marginal or residual; rather, it is the concrete appropriation and re-articulation of the knowledge/power unity which has congealed within the administrative modern machine of the States.

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