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To illustrate why we need both macrosociology and microsociology to understand social life, analyze the situation of a student getting kicked out of college.

In terms of macrosociology, the situation of a student getting kicked out of a college could be seen as a way to prevent the reputation of that college from diminishing due to poor academic achievement or behavior. In terms of microsociology, the expulsion of the same student could come to represent a system of barriers working against the student and leading up to their expulsion.

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Macrosociology focuses on the large scale issues of how expulsion works as part of the academic system as a whole, while microsociology examines what factors might lead an individual student to be expelled.

On a large scale, a university acts not just as an educational institution but also as a...

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Macrosociology focuses on the large scale issues of how expulsion works as part of the academic system as a whole, while microsociology examines what factors might lead an individual student to be expelled.

On a large scale, a university acts not just as an educational institution but also as a credentialing mechanism. In other words, it can be argued that the "product" as it were of a university education is a series of grades and credentials (such as degrees), which enable employers to sort out desirable from undesirable employees. This can be irrespective of specific educational content. For example, a student with a 4.0 GPA in English may not have a strong background in business, but a 4.0 GPA signifies that the student works hard and follows instructions; it signifies self-discipline and reliability. Expelling a student is a way for a university to maintain the integrity of its brand by not credentialing those who might harm its reputation. For example, graduating a student accused of rape or use of illegal drugs might bring reputational harm to the university.

For an individual student, one can analyze global factors that make expulsion more likely. For example, class and ethnic background might make students less likely to internalize the unspoken rules of the university as a system or be determined to rebel against them as part of class antagonism. Microsociologists might study how it would be possible to improve retention rates for students of varying backgrounds.

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