(noun) A distinctive culture shared by a small group that is often based on location or within an organization.

Example:  The microculture within a community center, restaurant, school, sports team, student organization or British horse-racing enthusiasts as studied by Kate Fox in The Racing Tribe (2002). Fox identified unique codes of conduct, customs, etiquette, hierarchies, language, and rituals.

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: microcultures
  • Not to be confused with subculture, through the terms are similar and often used interchangeably. A microculture has a unique identity within and as part of the dominate culture, but a subculture is contrasted to the dominate culture and separated from it.
  • Microcultures often have a specialized language called an argot.
  • Variant forms:
    • micro culture
    • micro-culture

Related Quotations:

  • “Members of a microculture will usually share much of what they know with everyone in the greater society but will possess a special cultural knowledge that is unique to the subculture” (Spradley and McCurdy 2008:3).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 



Spradley, James P., and David W. McCurdy. 2008. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Boston: Pearson Education.