Modeling Second–Order Expectations


Murray Webster University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223–


Theory–building is a continual, collective enterprise in which success is judged by logical consistency and successful explanation and prediction of specified empirical facts from a minimal set of assumptions. We describe some new attempts to develop Interactionist ideas on how communicated opinions from others can affect face–to–face interaction patterns and definitions of a social situation, including identities of the interactants. Our attempts take the form of developing theoretical models of how others’ evaluative opinions are incorporated into existing performance expectations. We show how model–building depends on existing theoretical ideas and empirical evidence. The description illustrates some ways in which contemporary sociological theory develops.