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Making and using rules

Introduction

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This unit is designed as an introduction to the academic study of the concept of rules, but will also serve as an introduction to a variety of different writing styles that are used in the academic world. It will challenge you to think about why some statements are rules and some are not, and what it is that distinguishes rules from habits and customs. It also looks at more formal rules and how such rules are applied and enforced. Rules shape our lives because they set out what we may and may not do, and what the consequences of breaking such rules might be. Finally, it discusses how rules have to be written clearly and concisely in order to make sense and examines the structures that exist to ensure that rules are respected, enforced and understood. Throughout this unit you will be asked to undertake activities that involve reading articles or thinking through a problem. These activities are designed to help you develop your own thinking and to teach you to read critically. Often there are no right or wrong answers, but the thought processes you go through to arrive at your conclusions are extremely important. You will learn that law is not an exact science and when it comes to designing, applying and breaking rules, there is a lot of room for interpretation.

This free course is an adapted extract relevant to The Open University course W100 Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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