They say that love is a battlefield. When it comes to codifying non-physical encounters with multiple steps and varied outcomes at each point in the process this becomes even truer. The pen is mightier than the sword, and the paper knife is just as deadly. In this context this means that the rules for behaviour have just as physical and potentially dire results as hand to hand or weapon based combat. The weapons of this type include fines, legal censure, incarceration, banishment or exile, execution, etc. This is true whether you are talking about a fictional setting or a set of role-playing game rules.
One of the more interesting concepts I've seen for handling social rules in an RPG is to treat it just like combat. The interplay back and forth is interesting, but I also enjoy the idea of giving the characters a social score or several scores based on different emotional, social, and political concepts that are treated the same as the character's pool of health points--whether they are numerical points by the dozens, or wound tracks, or a limited number of dots. There are two ways to look at this. In the first the results of losing your social points are not similar to death, but more like a sense of exhaustion. In the second the full loss of these points is like the death of that character's social standing. Use a mix of the two as desired or needed. Again, looking at the results instead of the numbers gives the value of this way of thinking for fiction writing.
What these pools do are provide a look at the health of the character on several fronts beyond the physical. They are indicators of the rise and fall of the character on different levels. They may effect, or include, the character's fortunes: monetary, influence, political power, emotional strength, or even karmically. They allow for characters to attack each other on different fronts. They might choose one or they might choose several attack vectors. A hero who is no match physically for the villain might go after the villain socially in the form of undermining their finances or their position in a criminal organisation, their standing in the criminal community at large, or in the eyes of the villain's lackeys. This causes them to lose manpower and respect, and even lead to them being ousted from power, killed by a rival, or ostracised. On another front representatives of the law may go after a mobster's assets or disrupt their holding of a position in a company or on a board of directors. This leads to similar results and does a better job of disrupting the mobster than even incarcerating the mobster, and leaving his or her power base still intact.
Music: Voodoo Medicine Man by Aerosmith and Harvester Of Sorrow by Metallica.