The forum explored how The Open University provides an ideal forum for discussing extitutions, and how CCIG is well placed to seriously pose questions concerning the extitutional shaping of the social sciences.
Social scientists have been rather obsessed with what might be called a critique of institutions. It is often as if progress – whether that takes the form of the emancipation of the oppressed, the struggle for equality, the enhancement of wealth and happiness or some other goal - were a matter of breaking open the closed walls of institutions (prisons, asylums, schools, the family): of destroying the enigmatic castle on the hill so disturbingly depicted by Kafka. But according to Deleuze we have long been in a generalized crisis of perpetual reform in relation to these environments of enclosure and discipline: ‘everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It's only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door’. (Deleuze 2007, Postscript on the societies of control).
This forum takes seriously a proposition first raised by Michel Serres (1994), and developed by Tirado and Domènech (2013), which suggests that these new forces are taking a novel form: extitution. Compared to an institution, in which clear boundaries create an enclosed environment that affords a distinct function for its ‘inhabitants’, an extitution is a flexible and provisional network of movement with no clear ‘inside’ or ‘outside’: extitutions are open.
Having many extitutional features, the Open University provides an ideal forum for discussing extitutions, and CCIG is well placed to seriously pose questions concerning the extitutional shaping of the social sciences, questions like: What might count as an extitution? Does the concept of extitution help us understand changes in the way that public-ness is accomplished today? What happens to the trio ‘Citizenship’, ‘Identity’ and ‘Governance’ when viewed as part of an extitutional modality of social ordering in contrast to an institutional modality? Or could we be seeing the emergence of hybrid ‘extitutional-institutional’ forms? What kinds of critiques of or alternatives to extitutions might be raised? Organized by the Psychosocial and Publics Programmes of CCIG, this forum will concentrate on the extitutional shaping of ‘publics’ and the implications of this for the subjectivity of what we might call the ‘exhabitants’ of extitutions. What might public and private mean in extitutional circumstances? What happens to ‘publics’ when our forms of order ‘open’ a previously private ‘interior’ to a turbulent environment which is increasingly characterized by the feature of movement? What effects do the blurring of boundaries and the emphasis on perpetual change at play in extitutions have upon our identities?
10:45 Update from the CCIG Director, Jef Huysmans Introductions by Paul Stenner and Nick Mahony.
11:00 Miquel Domènech and Francisco Tirado (Autonomous University of Barcelona): From institution to extitution?
12:45 Janet Newman: All that is solid melts into air? Mobility, creativity and institutional power.
14:30 Roundtable discussion organized around empirical vignettes. Hilde Stephansen and Nick Mahony (OU) Steve Brown (University of Leicester) Megan Clinch (Queen Mary, University of London) Discussants: Miquel Domènech and Francisco Tirado (Autonomous University of Barcelona)