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MCAT Content / Theoretical Approaches / Microsociologyvsmacrosociology

Microsociology vs. Macrosociology

Topic: Theoretical Approaches

Sociology is the study of human society; it can be studied on a micro-scale concerning small face to face interactions or a large scale – macro – which studies populations and social structures.

Macro and Micro Sociology both have applications when studying sociology. These are two different perspectives for studying sociological trends in populations.

When studying macrosociology, the focus is on large collectives and big trends and patterns that can be drawn from statistics and data. Some examples of this may be economies in a country, the effects of an institution on a population or poverty.

Microsociology, on the other hand, is the study of individual interactions and small scale face to face interactions. Examples of sizes would involve families, schools or small communities. Microsociology does not make use of large data sets but instead includes interpretations of small interactions and how these would affect outcomes for these small groups. For example, the expectations of a teacher on students and their outcomes in grade, or family interactions and behavior in students.

Key Points

• Macro and Microsociology are perspectives for the study of sociological interactions in a human population on a large (Macro) scale or small (micro) scale.

Key Terms

macrosociology: the study of sociological trends on large scales of populations, countries or institutions

microsociology: the study of sociological day to day and face to face interactions of small scale groups such as families, classes or individuals

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