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This second volume of a new three-part series of Antonio Negri's work is focussed on the consequences of the rapid process of deindustrialisation that has occurred across the West in recent years.
In this volume Negri investigates exactly what happens when the class subjects of industrial capitalism are demobilised and the factories close. Evidently capital continues to make profit, but how and where? According to Negri, the creation of value extends beyond the factory walls to embrace the whole of society; the 'mass worker' of industrialism gives way to the 'socialised worker' (operaio sociale) and the terrain of exploitation now becomes the whole of human life. In postmodernity, the metropolis becomes the privileged arena of value extraction. We must therefore understand the global city, with its stratifications, its enclosures and its resistances. Old categories of the private and the public are inadequate to describe the new matrix of production, which is characterised rather by the 'common', the productive space of cognitive and immaterial labour. Today's metropolis can be defined as a space of antagonisms between forms of life produced, on the one hand, by finance capital (the capital that operates around rents), and on the other by the 'cognitive proletariat'. The central question is then how 'the common' of the latter can be mobilised for the destruction of capitalism.
In an analysis that runs from the Italian workerism (operaismo) of the 1970s to the present day, From the Factory to the Metropolis offers readers valuable insight into the far-reaching impact of deindustrialisation, presenting both the challenges and opportunities. It will appeal to the many interested in the continuing development of Negri's project and to anyone interested in radical politics today.
Antonio Negri is formerly Professor of State Theory at the University of Padua