- Year: 2015
- Language: Russian
- Publisher: Ad Marginem
- ISBN: 9785911032494
- Page: 144
- Cover: paperback
A new edition of the book, a joint publication between Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and Ad Marginem Press in 2013.
Paulo Virno’s book provides an original interpretation of the transformations that have taken place in Europe over the past few decades. The philosopher argues that these changes have led to the formation of a society composed of heterogeneous and continually shifting groups that he calls “the multitude.”
Virno asserts that peoples united by a common culture and ideology – with a clearly defined social class system – no longer exist. Instead, contemporary societies are shown to consist of heterogeneous and constantly changing groups that the author defines as ‘multitudes’.
Virno’s ‘multitude’ is not a depersonalized ‘mass’ or crowd, but a community where each person retains his or her individuality. However, this notion of individuality is paradoxically connected to the characteristics common to all mankind – these are linguistic and intellectual capabilities as well as social skills, which he refers to as ‘general intellect’.
Virno explains his term ‘multitude’ by entering into a dialogue with various thinkers of the recent and remote past – from Aristotle, Hobbes and Kant to Marx, Heidegger, Benjamin and Foucault. He argues that the category of the ‘multitude’, developed by Spinoza in the seventeenth century, is in fact better suited to the analysis of contemporary life than the Hobbesian concept of ‘people’.
The book also defines some of the major characteristics of contemporary life and provides a positive evaluation of traditionally refuted human qualities; cynicism and opportunism, curiosity and chatter are all regarded by Virno as productive ways of adaptation to constantly changing labor and recreation conditions.