The difference between a MACRO view and a MICRO view in sociology is simple. A macro view zooms out and takes a look at society as a whole, while a micro view looks at how individuals interpret society and social interactions.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that the illiteracy rate among children in the United States is climbing. In order to find out why this is happening, a sociologist with a MACRO view would look at structural issues (for those with a structural functionalist view), to see if there is anything that has changed in terms of various societal structures (perhaps schools, in this case) that would explain it. A sociologist with a conflict theory view would also have a MACRO view of this problem and would look at the types of children who are having trouble reading — are they an ethnic minority? Religious minority? Is there any way in which the people in charge of the schools are preventing minorities from learning and reading?

A social interactionist sociologist would have a MICRO view while examining the problem and would talk to children directly to see why they don’t connect with reading.

MACRO views focus on the different social structures and institutions and how they could be causing the situation in question. MICRO views focus on the individual and how they’re interacting with the situation on a very personal level.

Put another way, MACRO views are impersonal while MICRO views are personal.

  • More about theoretical frameworks
  • More about structural functionalism
  • More about conflict theory
  • More about social interactionism