Major institutions have failed society. Banks and the Financial Markets have failed us in the 2008 credit crisis. The FA, the BBC, the Churches, British Gymnastics have all failed the victims of sex abuse. The Police and the CPS have failed the victims of sexual violence and rape. The NHS and Care Services continue to fail many patients. The British Government, its regulatory and supervisory bodies, and the building industry have failed the residents of Grenfell Tower, and the residents of similar high-rise blocks, whether social housing or privately owned.
Multiple institutional failure provokes the question whether we have the intellectual resources to understand institutions, to critique them, to repair them, or to construct and operate them appropriately. The hermeneutics of suspicion (Marx, Freud) has trained us to suspect hidden agenda in the exercise of institutional power. People espouse spirituality and reject institutional religion. Voters abandon established political institutions and seek an alternative politics. What prospects are there for a different experience of institutions?
The seminar will explore available analyses of institutions, the intellectual resources for dealing with them, possible remedies, and will test their application in various domains such as the law, the economy, the Church, public administration.