What is the difference between macro-culture and micro-culture?

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A macro-culture is the dominant culture of a particular society and can be defined regionally or nationally.  In America, the predominant macro-culture would consist of those persons of European ancestry with English as the preferred language and Christianity as the religion of choice. This is because a majority of citizens in the United States would be represented by these characteristics.

In contrast, a micro-culture is a smaller subset of the macro-culture.  For instance, an area within a state made up of primarily Latin speaking residents would be a micro-culture to the larger macro-culture of the state or nation.  Micro-cultures can be divided into further subsets based on many different factors, from things like religion or occupation to specific sports teams followed. 

In a country with as much diversity as the United States, it is common for people to find themselves in a wide variety of micro-cultures. In larger American cities such as New York, thousands of micro-cultures exist within the larger context of the American macro-culture.

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Many micro-cultures may exist within one macro-culture. They operate under the macro-culture, but may have traits specific to them. Let’s use mainstream America as an example of a macro-culture. Americans as a whole share basic values such as human rights, liberty, and freedom. However, the United States is home to people of many backgrounds, beliefs, and lifestyles. Someone who is Jewish would be part of the Jewish micro-culture, but lives within the macro-culture of America. Someone whose parents immigrated from, say, Sicily will be integrated to some degree with the values, language, and traditions of that country while coexisting with the behaviors that are dominant in mainstream America. Micro-cultures can exist within micro-cultures as well. People living in New York state are a micro-culture to the entire country. Residents of NYC are a micro-culture to New York State. People living on Manhattan are part of a micro-culture to the whole of NYC. Neighborhoods like Harlem and Chelsea are micro-cultures to Manhattan. All the way down to the cultures of specific blocks, or households, or any group of people that distinguishes itself from the whole. To zoom out, a macro-culture is the most widely practiced in a given society. I used America as an example, but the society could be as large as a continent or as small as a place of work, or as abstract as a field of study. The micro-cultures, or subcultures, within those societies just have to have traits, behaviors, or beliefs that differ from the whole. 

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