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The Concept of the Multitude in Marsilius, Machiavelli and Hobbes

Dates:
  • Fri 11 Dec 2020 11.30 - 13.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-12-11 11:30 2020-12-11 13:30 Europe/Paris The Concept of the Multitude in Marsilius, Machiavelli and Hobbes

In the past twenty years or so, the content of public value as a distinct political agency shifted in the global arena, from being a part of resistance to being independently in solidarity with those at the pointy end of the spear, threatened or injured in countless ways by any power groups. The uprisings, protests, and occupy movements in the second decade of 2000 coincided with the emergence of a rich literature that sought to identify what at the time was excitedly perceived as a new agent of emancipatory revolution from the imperial powers and the state. This new agent was the multitude, allegedly differing from any social subject that had ever before acted as an agent of emancipation. Conceptually, the multitude has been located opposite to the people, which has been framed as signifying a unitary concept that negates any singular difference among its members. In the attempt to identify the agent of the recent movements, a new framework was introduced, one that harmonizes populist radicalism, anti-capitalism and a break from the dialectical approach of Hegel and Marx, in a way that does not put the proletariat at the center of emancipation. The theoretical framework that underpins any identity related statement is intentionally left open-ended for the agent of emancipation, following the belief that the multitude’s pluralistic structure is necessarily unidentifiable due to the areas in which it emerges and to the fact that the connective tissue of the multitude is considered to be any type of commonness. Emancipation is shifted from a pre-planned effort to a sudden and unexpected type of movement of this plurality called the multitude . In a way, then, the multitude is a revision of Marx’s political project of class struggle; yet its plurality rules out the exclusions that define the working class in Marxist texts. The duality and dialectical approach are rejected in form and in concept and replaced with the plurality and the diversity of the multitude. The main problem with this narrative is that while Hardt and Negri, as well as other, later scholars, criticize the duality that modernism imposes using the methodology elaborated by Hegel and Marx, they insert the same dualism into the texts they engage with in regard to developing a genealogy of the concept of the multitude. In other words, although the narrative claims it is no longer possible to apply a strong demarcation of opposing concepts to texts that presumably help to identify the framework of the multitude, its assumption that the concept of the people is by nature the opposite of the concept of the multitude already introduces the mutual exclusivity of the two concepts. It hence pushes the narrative into the modern dualism that the narrative originally refused. The insertion of dualism into the methodology of interpreting the discussed texts not only poses a methodological problem, but also precludes a coherent reading through blocking an unbiased approach. In simpler terms, the assumption that people and multitude are mutually exclusive entities requires the genealogical texts to be read as in favor of either one concept or the other, prevents scholarship from constructing an objective and coherent genealogy, and generally relates to today’s concept of the multitude as a phenomenon that developed in parallel to theories of popular sovereignty and the state.

To receive the Zoom details, please REGISTER HERE by Thursday, 10 December at 16:00

Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

In the past twenty years or so, the content of public value as a distinct political agency shifted in the global arena, from being a part of resistance to being independently in solidarity with those at the pointy end of the spear, threatened or injured in countless ways by any power groups. The uprisings, protests, and occupy movements in the second decade of 2000 coincided with the emergence of a rich literature that sought to identify what at the time was excitedly perceived as a new agent of emancipatory revolution from the imperial powers and the state. This new agent was the multitude, allegedly differing from any social subject that had ever before acted as an agent of emancipation. Conceptually, the multitude has been located opposite to the people, which has been framed as signifying a unitary concept that negates any singular difference among its members. In the attempt to identify the agent of the recent movements, a new framework was introduced, one that harmonizes populist radicalism, anti-capitalism and a break from the dialectical approach of Hegel and Marx, in a way that does not put the proletariat at the center of emancipation. The theoretical framework that underpins any identity related statement is intentionally left open-ended for the agent of emancipation, following the belief that the multitude’s pluralistic structure is necessarily unidentifiable due to the areas in which it emerges and to the fact that the connective tissue of the multitude is considered to be any type of commonness. Emancipation is shifted from a pre-planned effort to a sudden and unexpected type of movement of this plurality called the multitude . In a way, then, the multitude is a revision of Marx’s political project of class struggle; yet its plurality rules out the exclusions that define the working class in Marxist texts. The duality and dialectical approach are rejected in form and in concept and replaced with the plurality and the diversity of the multitude. The main problem with this narrative is that while Hardt and Negri, as well as other, later scholars, criticize the duality that modernism imposes using the methodology elaborated by Hegel and Marx, they insert the same dualism into the texts they engage with in regard to developing a genealogy of the concept of the multitude. In other words, although the narrative claims it is no longer possible to apply a strong demarcation of opposing concepts to texts that presumably help to identify the framework of the multitude, its assumption that the concept of the people is by nature the opposite of the concept of the multitude already introduces the mutual exclusivity of the two concepts. It hence pushes the narrative into the modern dualism that the narrative originally refused. The insertion of dualism into the methodology of interpreting the discussed texts not only poses a methodological problem, but also precludes a coherent reading through blocking an unbiased approach. In simpler terms, the assumption that people and multitude are mutually exclusive entities requires the genealogical texts to be read as in favor of either one concept or the other, prevents scholarship from constructing an objective and coherent genealogy, and generally relates to today’s concept of the multitude as a phenomenon that developed in parallel to theories of popular sovereignty and the state.

To receive the Zoom details, please REGISTER HERE by Thursday, 10 December at 16:00


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Thesis defence

Co-Supervisor:
Professor Joseph Weiler (NYU - Department of Law)

Contact:
Valeria Raso - Send a mail

Examiner:
Dr. Annabel Brett (University of Cambridge)
Rainer Maria Kiesow

Supervisor:
Prof. Nehal Bhuta (EUI - Department of Law)

Defendant:
Zeynep Simsek

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