Powers of sovereignty

State, people, wealth, life

in Focaal
Author: Aihwa Ong 1
View More View Less
  • 1 University of California, Berkeley aihwaong@berkeley.edu
Restricted access

Hardt and Negri's trilogy describes an American Empire as shaping a world split between global capital and disenfranchised multitude, leading to a final confrontation between the Empire of capital and the counter-Empire of workers everywhere. However, their interpretation is limited by their philosophical abstraction and revolutionary vision, which fails to recognize the implications of actually existing processes of sovereignty and capital at this global juncture. The situation found in Asia challenges their analysis. In contemporary China, experimental assemblages of sovereign powers, capital, techne, and ethics have not weakened, but, in fact, have strengthened political sovereignty, nationalist sentiments, and collectivist ethos, presenting a different picture of biopolitics from that of Hardt and Negri's global theory. The authoritarian outcomes in China are political solutions forged in circumstances that mingle the global, the historical, and the situated. This article argues that Asian aspirations are rearranging capitalism and political sovereignty as Hardt and Negri understand them.


Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 108 107 15
Full Text Views 20 15 4
PDF Downloads 31 20 7