The following idea has long been a bedrock in my analysis, but I have not expressed it directly before now. Here goes.
As individuals we humans experience needs. I have written about a relationship between human needs and politics (see the table in that paper for examples of needs). In any of these circumstances, when a human experiences a need, what is the first notion which may present itself in that person’s thinking concerning how to satisfy that need? This is how I will define expectation, being that notion.
Consider this example need. A parent has a child whom he hopes will receive an education. A parent in one cultural milieu may expect that the child will be bussed off to government-supplied schooling. A parent in a different cultural milieu may expect that the child will be educated mostly within the family about the family’s tradition and industry, but will receive any needed supplemental education by being sent out to privately arranged schooling. We see stark difference in these two expectations.
An expectation is learned, of course. Our success in life
depends upon the relative fecundity of our expectations. Most of us live
most of our lives with relatively stable expectations, because
expectations may be very costly to challenge.
What do people in given cultural milieus generally expect when faced with a specific need? This question could motivate thousands of studies. Perhaps it has already motivated some studies. But if this question has motivated even one study that one study has never, I believe, come to my attention, and I have been searching for decades in many places. Although I admit I have not searched within sociology which may be the nearest neighboring science.
Expectations align closely of course with social institutions. (In another project I have described “social institutions” as persistent habits and expectations within the human population). Social institutions consist (I guess, I am just now making this up) of many individuals’ aligned expectations.
There exists, I propose, a whole science not yet examined which builds up from the atoms of expectations. Second level building blocks may be, I guess, the molecules of institutions. In its mature reaches this science promises to offer explanations for why some nations are rich while others are poor.
The development and evolution of law would be one subdivision of this science, as I have started to explore in this paper and that.