Contextualizing Institutional Meaning through Aesthetic RelationsA Pragmatist Understanding of Local Action

Authored by: Julie-Anne Boudreau

The Routledge Handbook of Institutions and Planning in Action

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138085732
eBook ISBN: 9781315111230
Adobe ISBN:


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Based on long-term ethnographic work exploring youth–police relations in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood of Montreal, this chapter argues that institutions function through experimentation, adaptation and affective human relations. Institutional action unfolds on various registers, from the visceral to the cognitive. In order to ‘see’ these various registers, it is necessary to pay attention to the labour through which an affectively sensed ordeal is translated into a publicly hearable problem. Local contexts are “universes of operation” through which institutions become embodied. The normative quality of institutions is thus productively revealed in moments of transgression.

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