Schingler, J. K., De Filippi, P. (2021) “Introduction to Extitutional Theory”. Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

“Extitutional theory is an emerging field of scholarship that provides a set of conceptual tools to describe and analyse the underlying social dynamics of a variety of social arrangements, such as communities, companies, organisations, or any other types of institutions.

Extitutional theory posits that the institutional framework is just one specific lens through which we can make sense of social behaviour. Social dynamics that are not part of an institution are not unstructured, just differently structured. Specifically, institutions focus on the static and inert elements of social structures — the aspects that persist over time — whereas extitutions focus on the dynamic and mutating elements of social structures — the aspects that continuously evolve over time. Both serve as filters to observe different aspects of the underlying social arrangements. This means that if we look at structured social dynamics only and exclusively through an institutional lens, we are only seeing one part of the larger picture. Extitutional theory provides an alternative lens — and the choice to use it is a normative decision to look at another part of the picture.”

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