2 Part A Making formal rules
2.1 The meaning of formal rules
In this part, we will develop our understanding of rules further. So far we have concentrated on social rules. We looked at what is meant by this, at the way such rules develop, at the conflicts which may arise between groups operating under different social rule systems, and at what happens when such rules are broken. Here, we are going to explore rules which are more formal in nature. By this I mean rules which – instead of being the product of shared understanding and practice – are set down in some way, usually in writing. In this section we will be focusing on what is meant by formal rules and the ways such rules are made.
The purpose of Activity 1 is to provide you with an opportunity to study a number of statements and to identify which of them express a rule.
Activity 1 Identifying formal rules
One of the things you may also have noticed about the statements we identified as rules is that they are also the product of a decision by a person or group of people. So, for example, the rules about bicycles, drivers, TV owners and serving alcohol paraphrase rules which have been made under the authority of Parliament (via the Highway Code, the Television Licensing Authority and legislation dealing with licensed premises). The rule about the invoices being paid will have been made under the authority of a contract agreed between the parties, and the rule about breakages will have been made by the owner of the shop in which it applies. It is this element of rules – the fact that they are deliberately created – that we are going to consider next.