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


  1. The microculture within a community center, restaurant, school, sports team, student organization.
  2. 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 Quotation:

  • “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.


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).


How to Cite the Definition of Microculture

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “microculture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 26, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/microculture/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

microculture. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/microculture/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “microculture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/microculture/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“microculture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 26 Jun. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/microculture/>.