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Similarities and Differences Between Microsociology and Macrosociology

Similarities and Differences Between Microsociology and Macrosociology
Sociology is the scientific and systematic study of human groups, based on society, culture, and relationships. One of the main branches of this science, macrosociology, involves the study of society as a whole, while another, microsociology, involves the study of individual human interactions. This Buzzle post takes a look at the similarities and differences between these two concepts.
Neha Gohad
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
"History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology."
― W. H. Auden
Sociology analyzes the complex phenomenon of society and its organization. It studies the world that you have created as participants of society. Social scientists have put forth theories that have led to many revolutions, like those in support of Marxism.

Sociological theories are broadly classified as macrosociology and microsociology; based on structuralism and interactionism, respectively. For a better understanding, let us take a look at the similarities and differences between them.

Sociology analyzes the complex phenomenon of society and its organization. It studies the world that you have created as participants of society. Social scientists have put forth theories that have led to many revolutions, like those in support of Marxism.

Sociological theories are broadly classified as macrosociology and microsociology; based on structuralism and interactionism, respectively. For a better understanding, let us take a look at the similarities and differences between them.
Microsociology
● Microsociological studies have been applied in the field of humanisitic social work, and as stated earlier, it involves the study of dynamics of individual interactions. Microsociology is based on qualitative sociology rather than quantitative. It means that microsociology focuses on personal interviews and such interpretative analysis rather than statistical data.
● In the late 1930s, microsociology was known as sociometry. Jacob L. Moreno, a sociologist, defined sociometry as "the inquiry into the evolution and organization of groups and the position of individuals within them". Sociometric tests, sociomatrices, sociograms can be used to evaluate the emotional relationship existing between people in a small social group.

● Microsociology states that individuals react to each other's actions on the basis of symbolic interactionism. They do not merely respond to an action, but relate it to their own perspective of things. An act is the resultant of the meaning they put in it.

● 'Dramaturgy' is a term closely related to microsociology. It was first adopted by Erving Goffman in his book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Dramaturgical analysis is the study of social interactions by imagining ourselves as the directors of a drama staged in the theater of everyday life.
Macrosociology
● Macrosociology prioritizes society before the individual, as society shapes an individual's outlook and personality.

● It is based on structuralism, which addresses issues on a larger scale like classism, gender bias, forms of authority, and revolutionary ideas considering society as a whole.
● Macrocosciology is the analysis of interactions between society and different cultures and social institutions.

● It is an umbrella term for dynamics between different social systems, institutions, and global social processes.
● Functionalism and conflict theory are macrosociological theories. Functionalism states that society tries to strike an equilibrium between 'social facts' like law and order, and 'institutions' like businesses. Conflict theory explains the rift between the economic classes.
● Historical macrosociology is a field where historical knowledge is applied in macrosociological issues. It studies issues such as the effect of changes in government, technological advancements throughout history, the origin of capitalism, etc.
Similarities and Differences With Examples
Karl marx
Karl Marx
● The theories put forth by Karl Marx developed in the latter half of the nineteenth century in Europe are largely macrosociological. In North America in the late nineteenth century, sociologists were more concerned about the effects of individual interactions on society.

● Georg Simmel, a German sociologist, explains the difference in these two concepts with the example of fashion. According to him, fashion is a largely urban phenomenon where individuals try to express their identity through their attire. Yet people try to adhere to the fashion norms of their society. Individuality and a sense of belonging coexist in this example.

● Division of labor, feminism, etc., are macrosociological issues, while interpretation of social facts and how individuals make personal decisions are instances of microsociology.

● Pattern of behavior, actions interactions, and perceptions fall under microsociology. While culture, law, norms, values form the core of macrosociology.
● Macrosociology analyzes bureaucracy and corporate culture, while microsociology is concerned with personal space and groups.
Thus, macrosociology and microsociology are two approaches of analyzing social dynamics. Though both concepts seem contradictory on prima facie, they are interdependent as seen in some of the examples.