As Fine and Harrington  have argued, the relationship between individuals and the social systems which they inhabit is shaped within face-to-face groups. Early work by Habermas and others on the development of the public sphere suggests that interactional arenas – salons, taverns, coffee houses, or other small group modalities – create arenas of discourse in which civil society is enacted and made concrete. However, this research has not led – as one might have expected – to the explicit theoretical attention by political sociologists to small groups and their political incarnation as “tiny publics.” In this article, we make the case for a stronger linkage between the two realms of theory, arguing that political sociology requires the conceptual frameworks of social psychology to explain how meaning and action are constituted in civic life.
- small groups; civil society; interaction
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brooke_harrington/12/