et cetera principle

et cetera principle

(ETHNOMETHODOLOGY) a ‘members’ method’ for dealing with practical situations not fully covered by a general principle. The following of an instruction or the application of a social rule cannot cover every eventuality practically encountered. On such occasions persons interpret the instruction or rule as containing an implicit et cetera, principle which brings within the rule's remit those circumstances not explicitly covered by it. Following a rule is not a mechanical procedure, but involves PRACTICAL REASONING on the part of the person concerned. See also RULES.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000