From national policies to the most minute technical design standards, social rules are the constraints that make coordinated human activity possible. The Social Rules Project is an educational initiative at Harvey Mudd College that reveals how social rules, or “institutions,” shape our planet and our lives.
The Social Rules Project is the result of efforts by almost 100 students from the Claremont Colleges and the California Institute of the Arts who created an animated short film, a video game on the institutional dimensions of tropical conservation, and a website with a variety of other free educational resources. Artists, computer programmers, environmental studies majors, musicians, and many others contributed countless hours to make these materials available. The goal of the project is to raise awareness about the institutional underpinnings of environmental problems and what it will take to solve them. This is accomplished by using innovative multi-media approaches to translate insights from the social science literature and make them accessible to a broad public.
The associated book, Who Rules the Earth? How Social Rules Shape Our Planet and Our Lives, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015.