In/Exclusions: Social Responsibility of Institutions (eds. Rafał Majka, Monika Różalska, Anna Treska-Siwoń), Copernicus Center Press, 2020.

It can be downloaded here.

This is a free-to-download publication explores the concept of social responsibility of institutions running through two our conferences (Towards Social Responsibility of Institutions: Education, Public Health and Design, 2019, and In/Visible. Designs of Social Experience, 2020).

The 2019 conference, Towards Social Responsibility of Institutions: Education, Public Health and Design, strived to examine the responsibilities of institutions in the times of Anthropocene where, for the next generations, there comes along a future of wars over resources, climate refugees and animal and plant species on the brink of extinction. In a number of social and political theories, the present is also painted in bleak colours: capitalocentric obsession with profit-making, depression becoming the most common illness in the West, or the space we inhabit becoming less and less socially and environmentally friendly.

With the Towards… conference, we set out to explore ways in which the institutions of education, public health and design, understood not only as state or private structures but also, and most importantly, as fields of expertise and experience which determine the socio-economic terrain, can make a difference. What is then, in the time of Anthropocene, the role of institutions that determine the well-being of society? How to think social responsibility of the institutions shaping policies of education, public health and spatial design of the environment? How do they condition one another? How, and to what extent, can spontaneous outbursts of social resistance influence the dynamics and trajectory of those institutions? And, finally, how can we think a world where 1) the institutions of education motivate humans to live lives founded on social responsibility, social equality and identity liberation; 2) depression and life anxiety in society remain as low as possible, and (3) the space we inhabit and share contributes to our well-being?

Whereas the 2019 conference examined the workings and perspectives of macro-level institutions in the wider context of Anthropocene and its neoliberal futures, the In/Visible conference (see the CFP on the main page) looked into, on the one hand, the mechanisms through which macro-level structures and institutions of knowledge production cement normative power relations, upholding prejudices, exclusions and inequalities; and on the other hand, the ways in which academics and activists bring to the fore ‘inaudible’ voices, ‘invisible’ positionalities or overlooked landscapes, thus challenging, undermining and, eventually, reorganising those structures and institutions of knowledge production.

Social responsibility would then appear as investment, engagement and work performed by activists, academics and institutions, and it can be understood in different ways as, for example, the nurturing of the social element within capitalism, or the egalitarianisation of the material and cultural conditions in which society (or societies) lives. The interplay between the words “inclusion” and “exclusion”, in turn, implies the dynamics of institutions as embracing or shunning particular teleologies of socio-economic development.