I watched Kevin Costner's much derided Postman recently. I normally try to work on my long bus commutes, but sometimes that's hard when I wind up on the crappy bus so movies pass the time.
So I bought the DVD (out of a bargain bin) because I loved the concept. And while the movie lived up to its crappy reputation, it also delivered on the excellence of its fundamental premise: the power of institutions.
In a post-apocalyptic mad max world, where civilization has returned to a Hobbseian State of Nature where might makes right. The premise is that terrorizing dictators can be overcome not by violence, but by an institution: the idea of the postal service, in this case representing the idea of the United States and the idea of democracy.
Using Greif's framework for analyzing institutions, the hero in the movie, the Postman (played by Costner), wins over dictatorship by establishing a new institution with two key institutional components, 1) the belief that the dictatorial institution is going to end, and 2) introduction of a simple Rule, that a postman can create a new postman.
I think the credit mostly goes to the source material, David Brin, sci-fi novelist, who has consistently made great points along these lines. I've never read his books but two of his essays have influenced me a lot on how in Lord of the Ring, the elitist aritocracy of elves and rangers wins over Sauron's meritocratic (and even democratizing) forces of technology; and similarly, how Star Wars glorifies the elite master race of Jedi, over the democratic institutions of the Republic that the Emperor represents.