chapter  4
22 Pages

Institutions and law

Institutions and law are the stable frameworks through which power is exercised. Institutions are congealed power realities and law constitutes their rulebook. Taken together, they constitute the political domain of society in which different groups decide upon the distribution of resources, rules, and meaning to shape their public life.1 As Michael Mann argues at the very onset of his multi-volume work on the sources of social power, “[i]nstitutionalization is necessary to achieve routine collective goals; and thus distributive power, that is, stratification, also becomes an institutionalized feature of social life.”2 Mann suggests that studying institutions and their rules offers good insight into the role and place of social power, which is exactly what this chapter aims to do.