Mesostructure Essay

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Mesostructure refers to the social processes that occur between the macro and micro levels of social organization. Mesostructure is the level of social analysis within which more macro structural or cultural arrangements shape and condition situations of interaction between individuals or groups, and within which the latter in turn maintain, modify, or change the former. David Maines (1982) and Peter Hall (1987) explicated the notion mesostructure as an answer to the micro-macro problem.” They argued that conventional treatments of the micro-macro issue reified a false dualism between the interaction processes on one hand, and large-scale social structure on the other.

Hall (1987) identifies six mesostructural categories of analysis:

  1. Process and temporality focus attention on how past actions constrain decisions and activities in the present, and the ways in which actors project future scenarios and strategies.
  2. Conventions and practices focus attention on the shared, habitual, taken for granted ground rules for action and interaction.
  3. Collective activity draws attention to chains of joint actions by two or more individuals with regard to some social object.
  4. Networks are the sets of transactions or relationships between actors.
  5. Resources and power represent any attribute, possession, or circumstance” at the disposal of collective or individual actors to achieve desired goals.
  6. Grounding lodges micro level interaction in historical, cultural, and structural contexts.


  1. Hall, P. (1987) Interactionism and the study of social organization. Sociological Quarterly 28: 1—22.
  2. Maines, D. R. (1982) In search of mesostructure: studies in the negotiated order. Urban Life 11: 267—79.

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