Empires of Love: An Introduction
One
Tof
his short book arises from a certain hope and a certain
frustration. The hope is that we can conceptualize a set
of systematic relations between forms of love and forms
liberal governance in empire without reducing these
relations to a singular kind or scale of power, to analogy, de-
scription, or rumor. The frustration is that this kind of project
is doomed—and rightly so—before it can begin for several
reasons, not the least of which are: that the concrete linkages
between forms of love and forms of governance are too many
and too dispersed to be of much use for a theoretical or practi-
cal political anthropology; that the way I am conceptualizing
love, intimacy, and sociality removes this work from the very
field it seeks to address; and that we can never agree about
the referent of liberalism. Indeed, there are many ways that
I could frame this study—as a study about sexuality, sover-
eignty, death and life worlds, and new social imaginaries. So
what am I trying to do, and why?
Perhaps the first thing to note is that this book is a theoreti-
cal reflection, but it is also the product of my own experiences
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