In Wikipedia: claim and Contract.

In a context of prevalent norms among members1 of a social order, a claim is a statement by one social actor (for instance a person, a company, a government agency) that something (for instance a land or good, or the right to harvest the fruits of a tree in a forest) is his or hers, with the effect that the other social actors in the same order (can be made to) respect the statement and its consequences (implied by the norms).

The possibility of much violence in society is correlated with the access regimes that societies have developed for their economic and political organizations. In their recent book, North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) provide a framework for understanding two types of social orders, why open access societies are both politically and economically more developed, and how some 25 countries have made the transition between the two types [1].

The network of claims

The stability and capability of the social order builds upon an balanced allocation of various claims to its members, taking into consideration the members background, capabilities and performances. Many claims would be related to the natural environment in which the group dwels (livelihood), others could be related to the time, activities and properties of the members.

Customary Law

In many, usually small-scale, social orders the network of claims that members have mutually, and on their natural environment is passed on between generations by habits and word of mouth which form the basis of so-called customs. Customary law continues to exist in many societies [2].

Codification & the mapping of claims

The principle of civil law is to provide all citizens with an accessible and written collection of the laws which apply to them and which judges must follow [3].

For certain high-value objects such as land and related titles, and intellectual property, the claims are documented in a cadastre. A cadastre commonly includes the details of the ownership, the tenure, the precise location, the dimensions (and area), the cultivations if rural, and the value of individual parcels of land [4].

Explicit claims and changes in claims are a generic mechanism on which much of the social order (of the modern society) is built. Due to the globalization of the economy explicit claims have become equally pertinent to all countries, even in cultures where they are at odds with the traditional social order [5].

Examples of codified regulations:

Modeling Claims

Using a conceptual modeling language, claims are modeled as a relationships between the continuants in the Principal branch, and those in the Institution Object branch. A claim includes rights, responsibilities and restrictions (RRR) and agreements or contracts among principals pertaining to bundles of claims affecting the use, holding and exchange of institution objects.

  • Principal: a Principal is any autonomous entity that participates in socio-economic interactions during its lifetime, it always is a natural or legal person.
  • Institution Object: An InstitutionObject instance is anything that can be the object of a right, restriction or responsibility.
  • Claim: A Claim is a relationship between a Principal and an Institution Object that is enforceable and has implications for interactions by socio-cultural laws.

Principals, claims and institution objects interact according to patterns that are described in detail in the Interactions Dictionary. Actor Network Theory allows both animate and inanimate actants to participate in interactions. At Actant, the possible roles of animate Principals in interactions are refined, and added to it are two other important classes of inanimate actants: Documents and Services.

The description of patterns is largely neutral regarding valuations that establish proportions in the interactions, for instance, what is the price of a bread, or what income threshold separates the poor from the non-poor? To support further quantitative and qualitative refinement of the interactions and holdings of principals, we must use metrics and measurements. These are introduced in the Metrics Dictionary. The metrics data types support a range of activities, including the definition of attributes of Institution Objects and Principals, and the specification of quantities in interactions.

1. Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast, 2009, Violence and Social Orders - A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History,
5. D. W. Bromley and M. M. Cernea. The management of common property natural resources: some conceptual and operational fallacies. World Bank Discussion Paper, 57, 1989.

To elaborate: Norms, Ownership, Regulations, Citizenship, Contract.