In reaction on the contribution of @dgibson1 I would say that the ‘people sciences’ lack one overarching and powerful theory such as the biological evolution theory. And I am afraid we’ll have to deal with the situation of several, partly competing, grand theories for some time. Therefore, I support Christoph’s suggestion to call our common field ‘meeting research’ rather than ‘meeting science’. The idea to develop a new meeting science seems brassy to me, but the field of meeting research might grow into an important (the most important) branch of (applied) psycho-social science, like medical science is a specialized branch of biology or life science.
Not everyone of us has to work on all levels of research; some might specialize on the macro and the long term, others on the micro and the short term. But most important for us as a scientific community is that we are interested in and informed about each other’s work and taking the results of that work into account in our own research and theories of meetings.
Anyway, speaking about theories that can help us developing our research field in the long run I would like to mention the Civilization Theory of which Norbert Elias is the main founder. It was exactly this theory that inspired and guided my research on meetings from the very beginning, as you can read in my book. This theory takes into account social processes on the micro, the meso and the macro level as well as individual or psychic processes in the short and the long run. The most successful integrative theory of social and psychic processes I know. Furthermore theory and empirical facts are well balanced in this scientific approach, which makes reading books written in this tradition much more pleasant than the overtheorized work of for instance Luhman.
Secondly, I am taken with the more recent theoretical movement of Peter Turchin (http://peterturchin.com). This theory is about long term changes of human collaboration and uses the newest methodological ideas drawn from network and complexity theory. It also works with mathematically verifiable models and computer simulations. I used some basic ideas in my paper about long term changes of meeting behavior I wrote for our symposium.
To be continued…