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“Interpretive social research presumes that the meanings-in-action that are shared by members of a set of individuals who interact recurrently through time are local in at least two senses. First, they are local in that they are distinctive to that particular set of individuals, who as they interact across time come to share certain specific local understandings and traditions--a distinctive microculture. Such microcultures are characteristic of all human groups whose members recurrently associate. These are so-called natural groups, which are the typical unit of analysis studied by fieldwork researchers” (Erickson, 1985: 37).

“The root problem in ecological psychology is conceptualization of the environment. The study of the subject’s behavior in his natural habitat is not the same as the study of natural habitats.” (Gump, 1969:201 cited by Erickson, 1977:67).

“Goodenough has defined culture ideationally as “a system of standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating, and acting” (1971:41). What one has to know in order to act appropriately as a member of a given group includes knowing not only what to do oneself but also how to anticipate the actions of others.” (Erickson, 1977:64).

Classroom culture

“Interpretive researchers presume that microcultures will differ from one classroom to the next, no matter what degree of similarity in general demographic features obtains between the two rooms, which may be located literally next door or across the hall from one another.” (Erickson, 1985: 38).


  • Erickson, Frederick (1977). Some Approaches to Inquiry in School-Community Ethnography. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 8(2):58-69.
  • Erickson, Frederick (1982). Taught Cognitive Learning in Its Immediate Environments: A Neglected Topic in the Anthropology of Education. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 13:149–180.
  • Goodenough, W. Culture, Language, and Society (Addison-Wesley Module). Reading (Mass.): Addison-Wesley, 197 1.
  • Mottier Lopez, L. (2016). La microculture de classe : un cadre d’analyse et d’interprétation de la régulation située des apprentissages des élèves. In S. Cartier & B. Noël (Ed.), De la métacognition à l’apprentissage autorégulé (pp. 67-78). Bruxelles : De Boeck