Just as institutions require shared ontologies to function, so are institutions involved in creating the categories that nake up ontologies. Admittedly, assigning agency to institutions poses a number of questions that need to be answered; I won’t attempt that here. Essentially, I follow Mary Douglas (see video below), especially her How Institutions Think. The categories and rules that comprise human ontologies follow and enable a practical logic that in turn enables sustainable human interaction.
A corollary idea to this is that ontologies exist (in large part) to mediate social action. They are the result of human beings’ mutual calibration of individual cognition through collective interaction. Typcially, this calibration takes place through ritual. But media (old and new) — which grow out of but eventually displace ritual — also take on this role. (McLuhan’s frequent reference to ritual to describe the effects of new media is telling.)
“Social Life Makes the Categories.” The late Mary Douglas being interviewed in 2006
about her book Purity and Danger