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

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The key difference between macrosociology and microsociology is that the former views large-scale social structures as the primary explanation for human behavior, whereas the latter places more emphasis on individual agency and interpersonal relationships.

In the example of a student getting kicked out of college, a macrosociological approach would locate...

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The key difference between macrosociology and microsociology is that the former views large-scale social structures as the primary explanation for human behavior, whereas the latter places more emphasis on individual agency and interpersonal relationships.

In the example of a student getting kicked out of college, a macrosociological approach would locate this student in the context of social factors such as race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. What are the college completion rates of students in the same social groups as this student? What challenges might the student have faced due to their social identities? In what ways do educational institutions fail to equip students in these social groups for academic success? These are the questions a macrosociologist would bring to this scenario.

A microsociologist, on the other hand, would be interested in the student's personal relationship to the college. What was missing in this student's interactions with professors and fellow students that caused them to deviate from the path to graduation? What factors went into the student's decisions around their education?

Of course, neither of these approaches can be separated from the other, and a combined micro- and macrosociological analysis would present the clearest explanation behind the student's expulsion.

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