The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Stealing Empire poses the question, "What possibilities for agency exist in the age of corporate globalisation?" Using the work of Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt as a point of entry, Adam Haupt delves into varied terrain to locate answers in this ground-breaking inquiry. He explores arguments about copyright via peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms such as Napster, free speech struggles, debates about access to information and open content licenses, and develops a politically incisive analysis of counterdiscourses produced by South African hip-hop artists. From empire stealing through their commodification of countercultures to the stealing empire activities of file-sharers, culture jammers and hip-hop activists, this book tells the story of people defining themselves as active, creative agents in a consumerist society.

Stealing Empire is vital reading for law, media and cultural studies scholars who want to make sense of the ways in which legal and communication strategies are employed to secure hegemony.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 210mm x 148mm
Pages : 272
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2209-8
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2209-0
Publish Year : 2008
Rights : World Rights


1. Reading Empire
1.1 Theorising Empire
1.2 The power of the multitude
1.3 Critiques of Empire
1.4 The case for the power of the multitude
Conclusion: multitude, media and culture

2. Revolution for Sale? Hollywood and Subversion in the Age of Empire
2.1 The Matrix as its own pure simulacrum
2.2 Empire, culture and agency in The Matrix
2.3 Rage Against the Machine and thematic depth in The Matrix
2.4 Rage Against the Machine and Zapatismo

3. The technology of subversion: from digital sampling in hip-hop to the MP3 revolution
3.1 Interpreting the Statute of Anne
3.2 The politics of digital sampling in hip-hop
3.3 Digital sampling, ownership and recuperation
3.4 The digital continuum: MP3 technology
3.5 Empire and the failure of democracy

4. Enclosure of the commons and the erosion of democracy
4.1 Enclosure of the commons
4.2 The Internet as an information commons
4.3 Open source, P2P and the culture of tinkering
4.4 Enclosing the information commons
4.5 Reclaiming the commons: open source and Creative Commons in South Africa
4.6 Culture jamming and free speech: citizens versus corporations
Conclusion: toward the common

5. Hip-Hop, gender and co-option in the age of Empire
5.1 Racial stereotypes, gender politics and the commodification of hip- hop
5.2 Conscious hip-hops continued appeal
5.3 Godessa in dialogue with Empire
5.4 Immortal Technique in dialogue with Empire
Conclusion: global affiliations

6. Hip-Hop, counterpublics and noise in post-apartheid South Africa
6.1 Noise from POC and Black Noise
6.2 Noise from younger MCs
6.3 Noise and subaltern counterpublics
6.4 Democracy, the nation-state and Empire




Law, technology, the Internet to the media and all things cultural - listen to the views of Adam Haupt, Martin Hall, Burni from Godessa and Caco the Noble Savage on Stealing Empire.

Duration: 8 min 22 sec

Adam Haupt is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Film & Media Studies at the University of Cape Town. He has taught at the Universities of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch and has freelanced as an arts journalist. In the mid-90s, Haupt set the scene for research on black youth culture in South Africa with his work on rap group Prophets of da City, whose work was banned by the apartheid regime.

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