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Microsociology: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is Microsociology
  • 1:03 Importance
  • 2:11 Examples
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Microsociology involves studying the interactions between individuals. In this lesson, we will learn all about microsociology and its importance. Then we will discuss several examples of microsociology research topics.

What Is Microsociology?

Jill is a sociologist who's interested in studying the aging population. She owns a research firm with her partner, Malcolm, who also shares similar interests. They are presented with the opportunity to work on two different studies. Study A focuses on the effects of income and the US political climate on the well being of people over 60. Study B uses a sample of 200 families to examine the relationships between parents over 60 and their adult children.

Though both studies focus on people age 60 and over, the two studies both use different levels of analysis in sociology. Study A is an example of macrosociology, which looks at larger social structures, organizations, and systems.

Study B is an example of microsociology, which looks at individuals and how they interact with each other. Microsociology examines society at a much smaller scale, and is primarily concerned with how individuals or small groups interact face-to-face.

Importance

If you are like most humans, a majority of your time is spent in small groups. When we are at work, at school, or at home with our families, we are usually interacting with at least one other person. Rarely are we truly alone.

Most of our social concerns also involve a small subset of people. For example, poverty (a social concern) is particularly a concern among people without high school diplomas (subset of people). Macrosociology allows us to examine society at a more broad level. Microsociology allows us to examine these small groups and subsets of the population in greater detail, which can lead to a greater understanding of how people interact in everyday life.

In addition, many of the events that have produced large-scale social events were in fact brought about by a small group or subset of people. For example, the US September 11th attacks, which changed the political and economic climate in the United States, was carried out by a small group of people. Therefore, microsociology can be used to provide more detailed information of the trends that we identify using macrosociology.

Examples

Microsocioloy involves studying small groups or subdivisions of the population. Study B is an example of microsociology because it examines the daily interactions between two segments of the population: parents and their children.

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