Sociology the Difference Between Micro and Macro Term Paper

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The difference between micro and macro perspectives in sociology is that the latter looks into the role of social institutions in influencing social life and interaction, while the former is centered on studying social interaction itself, which happens between individuals or people who are also members of the society.

The distinction between the two perspectives become easier to understand when applied in the context of a particular social phenomenon, such as the proliferation of gang membership among members of minority communities such as Latinos, Asians, and other marginalized sectors in American society. Looking at this social phenomenon in a micro perspective, gang membership is analyzed and interpreted as one way for people to seek companionship and feel belonged to a group, having lived in a society where sometimes, racial or cultural differences are not tolerated. Gang membership at the micro perspective is considered an individual's way of creating an identity for himself/herself through the image of the gang or group he/she belongs to.

At the macro-level perspective, gangs continue to emerge and gang behavior perpetuate in the society because of the social institutions that tolerate a system that seeks to further marginalize these minorities who are members of criminal gangs. The prison system is an example of a social institution that reinforces criminal behavior among gang members: the portrayal of the prison system as an institution that promotes punishment and social exclusion instead of rehabilitation results to people resorting once again to gang membership because their social system cannot support their need for belongingness and acceptance in their community/society. This example illustrates how micro and macro perspectives differ, yet complement each other in discussing social phenomena in human society.

2. A correlational relationship is an empirically measured relationship between variables in which the variables are found to change together. This may be differentiated with causal relationships, which are
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empirically measured relationships between two variables in which a change in one variable causes a change in a second variable.

An example of a correlational relationship is when looking at the relationship between two variables, such as religious belief and political participation. In a correlation, religious variable is observed to change with political participation -- that is, people with perceptions that they have a high religious belief tend to be more active in participating in politics. This example indicates a positive direction of the correlation: when the independent variable increases, the dependent variable also increases; similarly, it may be posited that in a correlation, a lower religious belief may result to higher political participation, which is a variation of a negatively-directed correlation.

In a causal relationship, meanwhile, two variables are considered affective of each other -- that is, one variable causes the other. In the previous example, using again the variables religious belief and political participation, a causal relationship posits that religious belief affects political participation. The causal relationship may also be positive or negative: a positive causal relationship illustrates that high/low religious belief results to high/low political participation, while a negative causal relationship shows that high/low religious belief results to low/high political participation.

3. The emergence and development of sociology as a field of study in the social sciences demonstrate how understanding of human society is generated from studying the collective interactions of and meanings given by people within a particular social structure. From these factors, sociologists are able to determine how these factors influence people's actions, behavior, and thinking in society.

It is vital to distinguish sociology from biological-psychological explanations of human behavior, since the latter is most concerned and focused in determining human thinking per se, without looking primarily at the influence of social institutions to the individual. In psychology, human behavior and thinking is believed to develop inherently -- that is, individually -- within the individual. Any changes in the…

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Sex, on one hand, as a biologically-determined concept, is determined by our genes, or an individual's biological composition. Gender, on the other hand, refers to the cluster of behavioral patterns and personality traits associated with masculinity or femininity. Thus, gender is culture-based, dependent on the way an individual is brought up and was made aware of the distinction between males and females. Distinction between these two concepts is vital in order to generate an understanding that male-female differences are actually determined by society. When one refers to sex, biological differences alone can determine this. However, gender is a more flexible term that must be put into the social context in which this concept was generated.


Renzetti, C. And D. Curran. (2000). Living sociology (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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