Micro-Cultures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Although understanding the dynamics of culture through the examination of large-scale social systems is important, culture is embedded in smaller systems as well. The exploration of micro-cultures—also termed small group cultures or idiocultures—helps us to recognize that culture is cemented through the interaction of individuals with long-term, ongoing relationships. Structure alone does not create social order, but requires a set of stable collective interpretations. But just as we examine how culture is organized through societies or institutions, we should see the role of culture in smaller units, including families, clubs, workgroups, and other gatherings. As a result, culture and meaning-building emerges within group life and is spread through networks. Seeing culture as resulting from interaction emphasizes the role of talk and action as guarantors of social order and as building collective understanding. By focusing on micro-cultures, social scientists emphasize the importance of the middle level of analysis between the self and structure: what has been termed the meso-level of analysis. Micro-cultures recognize that groups produce a self-reflexive basis for the interaction order. Ultimately, social actors act in concert, producing shared lines of action and creating a tiny public that can then permit individuals to fit into larger social systems, including creating citizens within nation-states.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEmerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource
EditorsRobert A Scott, Marlis C Buchmann
PublisherWiley Blackwell
ISBN (Electronic)9781118900772
StatePublished - 2015

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