Ben Lehman (creator of Polaris) talks about designing RPGs in terms of social context.

It’s also important to realize that these are, explicitly, design concerns, reaching through creative and technical agendas and operating at all levels of a text. This is not a simple case of going “okay, this game is going to be outreach to non-gamers” and then feeling good about yourself. To function, your social context level goals have to completely suffuse every game design decision you make. And even then it might not work (more about that later.)

It’s interesting stuff, whether you’re designing a game or not.