We have the phrases "office politics", "family politics", etc, describing relations of power, that is, political relations within small social groups.

Political relations on this level are no less important and no less complex than relations on the a national state or international relations level. I cannot find an academic term for that, though.

The expressions mentioned above are colloquial and cannot serve serious academic purposes. What is/are the proper academic terms for that kind of political relations?

(For a while I thought the proper term would be "micropolitics", but as I researched it, it seems to lack solid definition in academia. My other question on that topic: What is the generally accepted definition for "micropolitics"?).

  • 2
    Power dynamics and decision making within small groups usually don't fall into the realm of political science but rather into the realm of sociology. But I don't know that much about sociology, so perhaps there is a sociologist here who can give a more precise answer.
    – Philipp
    Aug 1, 2022 at 15:23
  • 1
    If you are writing a report, it would be reasonable to place in the introduction "In this paper the term micropolitics will mean ...."
    – James K
    Aug 1, 2022 at 15:28
  • 2
    grassroots movement ?
    – Max
    Aug 1, 2022 at 16:00
  • @Max - grassroots still concerns state-scale politics, while I am speaking about the power relations in small groups such as family, workplace, criminal gangs, sports teams, school class, etc.
    – drabsv
    Aug 1, 2022 at 20:09
  • "word of the mouth"? It's more general than just politics though. Grassroots doesn't have to be state-wide level. It can be at a city-block level. It literally means politics of discussing things while standing on someone's front lawn.
    – wrod
    Aug 2, 2022 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


I would call it simply "internal politics". It is usually opaque to an external observer and may catch them off-guard.

E.g., a corporation may suddently withdraw from a competitive market where it had advantage over yours due to its internal politics, where an influental faction pushes a change of focus or even a pivot. But this would absolutely happen on the level of company subdivision, a group of buddies, extended family, etc, etc.

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