TITLE

Democracy and the Multitude: Spinoza against Negri

AUTHOR(S)
Field, Sandra
PUB. DATE
June 2012
SOURCE
Theoria: A Journal of Social & Political Theory;6/14/2012, Vol. 59 Issue 131, p21
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Negri celebrates a conception of democracy in which the concrete powers of individual humans are not alienated away, but rather are added together: this is a democracy of the multitude. But how can the multitude act without alienating anyone's power? To answer this difficulty, Negri explicitly appeals to Spinoza. Nonetheless, in this paper, I argue that Spinoza's philosophy does not support Negri's project. I argue that the Spinozist multitude avoids internal hierarchy through the mediation of political institutions and not in spite of them; nor do these institutions merely emanate from the multitude as it is, but rather they structure, restrain and channel its passions. In particular, the required institutions are not those of a simple direct democracy. There may be other non-Spinozist arguments on which Negri can ground his theory, but he cannot legitimately defend his conception of the democratic multitude by appeal to Spinoza.
ACCESSION #
75529356

 

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