What are macroculture and microculture?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The United States is a country that has people of many different ethnic groups and nationalities.  It has people of many different religions and of no religion.  It has people from many different regions.  It has people who are from urban areas and people from rural areas.  In short, the US is a very diverse place.  This means that it will have a large number of microcultures to go along with its macroculture.

In the United States, almost all of us share to some degree in the macroculture.  This is the culture that could be called “mainstream” or “dominant.”  Because we all live in this country, and because the country is dominated by this culture, we have all absorbed its values and its ways to a greater or a lesser degree.

At the same time, many of us are members of microcultures.  Microcultures can be defined as sets of people who are largely connected to the macroculture but who also have common traits that are not shared by the macroculture.  Microcultures can come in many varieties.  People whose grandparents or parents have come from Mexico, for example, will share many things in common.  They will all speak Spanish to some degree and will have some different customs than most Americans do.  At the same time, they will have lived all their lives in the United States and will share most of the values and beliefs of the macroculture.  Microcultures can be religious.  Observant Jews might be a microculture as might members of the LDS Church. 

The difference between microcultures and macrocultures, then, is that members of a microculture share in the macroculture but also have some characteristic traits of their own that are not the same as those of the macroculture.