The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp relief the fundamental and enigmatic relationship between institution and human life. At the very moment when the virus was threatening to destroy life, human beings called upon institutions - on governments, on health systems, on new norms of behavior - to combat the virus and preserve life. These institutions have been criticized for not doing enough and for responding too slowly to the threat, but the criticism of institutions is part and parcel of the logic of the institution itself, part and parcel of what could be called 'instituting praxis'. In this short book, Roberto Esposito argues that institution and human life are not opposed to one another but rather two sides of a single figure that, together, delineate the vital character of institutions and the instituting power of life. What else is life, after all, if not a continuous institution, a capacity for self-regeneration along new and unexplored paths? No human life is reducible to pure survival, to 'bare life', to use Walter Benjamin's phrase. There is always a point at which life reaches out beyond primary needs, entering into the realm of desires and choices, passions and projects, and at that point human life becomes instituted: it becomes part of the web of relations that constitute social, political and cultural life. This new book by one of the most original philosophers writing today will appeal to students and academics in philosophy and the humanities generally, and to anyone interested in contemporary philosophy and cultural theory.