So I’ve been reading around in Hardt and Negri’s new book Commonwealth, as part of my ongoing interest in their work and as part of trying to finish this talk I’m supposed to give on Negri and others’ writings on what they call “the common.” As anyone whose ever discussed this stuff w/ me knows I’ve engaged with this stuff for a while and have moved from being very enthusiastic to being frustrated by it. I think that’s legitimate and I do of course think I’m right in my criticisms and so on, but I think my tone get annoying sometimes, a tone of exasperation. This annoys me too, in that these days I sort of lose sight sometimes of why this work is worth engaging with at all. This work was a formative intellectual influence for me despite my current disconnects. (This is part of the source of the tenor of my reactions, a feeling that people I like and respect are falling short of what they could be doing with their abilities and know-how.) And despite my disagreements with a fair bit of their work nowadays, there remains a big chunk of it that is still (at least for me) a really important thing to think with – even though increasingly I feel like I’m thinking with it by thinking against Hardt and Negri’s positions on a lot, that thinking is for me quite clarificatory.

Advertisements