chapter  6
Institutional discourse
ByCelia Roberts
Pages 15

Institutions are held together by talk and texts both to maintain themselves and to exclude those who do not belong. The study of institutional discourses sheds light on how organisations work, how ‘lay’ people and experts interact and how knowledge and power get constructed and circulate within the routines, systems and common sense practices of work-related settings. ‘Institutional discourse’, therefore, spans many areas and this reflects the different theoretical backgrounds of those who have written about institutions. These theorists can usefully be divided into those who look at the underlying processes that

construct, maintain and give power to institutions and those who analyse the detailed conduct of how organisations work and interact with others. A fundamental notion of the institutional derives from a social constructivist view of reality in which all institutions are made up of shared habitual practices. Stable and enduring features are assembled through particular social settings:

insitutionalisation occurs wherever there is a reciprocal typification of habitualised actions by types of actors.