Societies are made up of individuals. In turn, individuals form small groups like the family: an important institution of society. Individuals also make other institutions like the state and the economy. These ‘thick institutions’ have separated themselves from the individuals. A strange situation arises in which individuals feels dominated by the very institutions they made in the early ages of human civilization. Individuals also feel alienated from those institutions which have become impersonal and very powerful. This problematic relationship between individuals and institutions has been studied by the social sciences in much detail especially in the works of 19th century scholars. In the 20th century, however, a strange thing happened with the study of institutions and individuals; they have separated themselves from each other and gone into different branches of social science. The economy is now the exclusive area of economists and politics have become the playground of politicians and political scientists. The study of individuals has become the most important reason for the existence of psychology. Only sociology and cultural anthropology have tried to preserve the linkages between individuals and society. But cultural anthropology has lost much interest in this relationship and has become a descriptive social science mainly studying primitive societies. Only sociology is still trying to study this relationship on a truly global scale: locally, nationally, and internationally.
Three solutions have been tested in time to solve the relationship between individuals and institutions: