Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Alison J. Bianchi


Many social scientists consider race, class, and gender to be the three main axes of inequality and a plethora of research covers these topics. As such, a wealth of knowledge has accumulated about how they affect individuals' life chances and trajectories. Much is also known about how race and gender affect interaction, but what about social class? Little is known about the role of social class during interaction compared to gender and race. Thus, the focus of this thesis is to better understand the effect of social class during interaction. Moreover, I examine social class in combination with gender.

I first present meta-theoretical orientations to interaction, social class, and gender. I orient my empirical studies with the theoretical research program of Expectation States Theory (EST). In Chapter 2, I explicate Status Characteristics Theory (SCT), a robust theory from EST. Here I provide two innovations. First, I link implicit social cognition to SCT, and second, I provide illustrations of the mechanisms of SCT. In Chapter 3, I present descriptions of a "rich guy" and "poor guy" from focus groups of University Iowa undergraduates. Two very distinct profiles emerged. In Chapter 4, I present a 12-condition experiment to test explicit and implicit cues of social class on status processes in isolation and in combination with gender. Using the standardized experimental setting of EST, I present social class as a series of interactional cues, which to my knowledge is a first in the EST tradition. The data partially support the theory. In Chapter 5, I discuss the empirical chapters, limitations of the studies, and future directions.


gender, interaction, intersectionality, social class, social psychology


xvii, 236 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 226-236).


Copyright 2014 Donna A. Lancianese

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Sociology Commons