||Until recently institutions and institutionalization were one of the main means by which the apparent organization of collectives and society was achieved. Devices which divide and collect flows of things and persons that pass through them, creating routes and stable habits and situations. Then, we are used to think of them as an important condition in the consecution of social order. Stabilisation and repetition are in fact a good way of conserving and avoiding events which could destabilise order. Nevertheless all around us we see that an important change is made from institutions towards community or open programs. A “showy” example of this comes from the prison system and the continuous attempts to find penalties on substitution at least and for the moment for “soft” crimes, and the use of electronic bracelets (tagging) to provide a transition for these selected prisioners from prison into the community. In fact, technoscientific innovations make possible to think of some “open prisons” or “walking prisons” to manage risk out of the institutions walls. We can find another good exemple of this new openess in mental health, within what is known as the move from an institutional psychiatry to a communitarian one. Looking at some of the initiatives and programs borned from within this aim to create a community care system we can see how this traditional device concieved for gathering, stabilizing and controling patients is loosing preeminence. While some people call this process and its subsequent treatment in the community deinstitutionalization, we think it can be better understood in terms of virtualisation.
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||Athenea digital : revista de pensamiento e investigación social, N. 1 (2002) p. 179-184, ISSN 1578-8946