Conflict Theory

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Conflict Theory

  1. 1. Conflict TheoryConflict TheoryBy: Erin Lepird, Sicily Canny,By: Erin Lepird, Sicily Canny,Mago SaldanaMago Saldana
  2. 2. Conflict theory vs MarxismConflict theory vs Marxism Conflict theory: power is the core of ALLConflict theory: power is the core of ALLsocial relationshipssocial relationships Marxism: much like conflict theory butMarxism: much like conflict theory butpower is gained through economicspower is gained through economicsCharacterized by an economic struggle betweenCharacterized by an economic struggle betweenthe haves and have-nots.the haves and have-nots.
  3. 3. Conflict TheoryConflict TheoryAlternative to functionalismAlternative to functionalismMacrosociological theoretical perspectiveMacrosociological theoretical perspectiveResentment and hostility are constantResentment and hostility are constantelements of societyelements of societyPower differences among social classesPower differences among social classesSpecialSpecial interest groupsinterest groups fight over scarcefight over scarceresources of societyresources of societyInterest groups fight to gain advantages overInterest groups fight to gain advantages overothersothers
  4. 4. Conflict Theory (Cont’d)Conflict Theory (Cont’d) Competition puts society off-balance untilCompetition puts society off-balance untildominant group gains control and stabilitydominant group gains control and stabilitythrough powerthrough power
  5. 5. InfluencesInfluences Karl Marx (1818-1883)Karl Marx (1818-1883)Humanist: wanted all individuals to reach theirHumanist: wanted all individuals to reach theirfull human potentialfull human potentialBelieved humans make their own historyBelieved humans make their own history((historical method)historical method)Controlling material productionControlling material production division ofdivision oflaborlabor formation of economic social classesformation of economic social classesClass struggleClass struggleTrying to combine material and ideal factors/Trying to combine material and ideal factors/structural and cultural factorsstructural and cultural factors
  6. 6. Marx (cont’d)Marx (cont’d) Society was a two-class system:Society was a two-class system:1.1. Bourgeoisie (owners of the means ofBourgeoisie (owners of the means ofproduction)production)2.2. Proletariat (workers)Proletariat (workers)
  7. 7. Marx (cont’d)Marx (cont’d) Class differences have a lot to do withClass differences have a lot to do withpossession of personal propertypossession of personal property Believed the exploited would becomeBelieved the exploited would becomeconscious and uniteconscious and unite communismcommunism elimination of class struggleelimination of class struggle Main ideas behind communism are statedMain ideas behind communism are statedinin the communist manifestothe communist manifesto
  8. 8. Max Weber (1864-1920)Max Weber (1864-1920) Agreed with Marx (economics played aAgreed with Marx (economics played acentral role in power distinction).central role in power distinction). Believed in Two other factors:Believed in Two other factors:1.1. Social prestige (status)Social prestige (status) Example: someone could be poor and still hold aExample: someone could be poor and still hold alot of power because of social prestigelot of power because of social prestige  MotherMotherTheresaTheresa1.1. Political influencePolitical influence Example: Politician who has great power, butExample: Politician who has great power, butdoes not earn a big salarydoes not earn a big salary
  9. 9. Max Weber (cont’d)Max Weber (cont’d) Weber definedWeber defined powerpower as “the ability to imposeas “the ability to imposeone’s will on another, even when the otherone’s will on another, even when the otherobjects” (p. 72 CST)objects” (p. 72 CST) Authority:Authority: legitimate power; used with consent oflegitimate power; used with consent ofthe ruledthe ruled Distribution of power and authority = basis ofDistribution of power and authority = basis ofsocial conflictsocial conflict HOWEVER: if subordinates believe in theHOWEVER: if subordinates believe in theauthority= avoided conflictauthority= avoided conflict If authority is not recognized as a legitimate= conflictIf authority is not recognized as a legitimate= conflict
  10. 10. Max Weber (cont’d)Max Weber (cont’d) People with power want to keep itPeople with power want to keep it People w/out power want to seek itPeople w/out power want to seek it 3 types of authority:3 types of authority:1.1. Rational-legalRational-legal2.2. TraditionalTraditional3.3. charismaticcharismatic
  11. 11. Georg Simmel (1858-1918)Georg Simmel (1858-1918) Wanted to develop aWanted to develop a mathematics ofmathematics ofsocietysocietyCollection of statements about humanCollection of statements about humanrelationships and social behaviorrelationships and social behavior Disagreed with Marx that social classesDisagreed with Marx that social classesare formed horizontallyare formed horizontally There are differences in power andThere are differences in power andopinions within each group.opinions within each group.
  12. 12. Georg Simmel (1858-1918)Georg Simmel (1858-1918) Concepts and contributions:Concepts and contributions:Rejects organic theoryRejects organic theorySaw society as the sum of individualSaw society as the sum of individualinteractioninteractionThe most important relationship is betweenThe most important relationship is betweenleaders and followers, superior andleaders and followers, superior andsubordinatessubordinatesSuperiordinate and subordinate have a reciprocalSuperiordinate and subordinate have a reciprocalrelationshiprelationship
  13. 13. Georg Simmel (1858-1918)Georg Simmel (1858-1918) Believed social action always involvesBelieved social action always involvesharmony and conflict, love and hatredharmony and conflict, love and hatred(p.74)(p.74) SecrecySecrecy: people who hold secrets are in a: people who hold secrets are in aposition of power.position of power. Some groups are formed around secretsSome groups are formed around secretsand are known asand are known as secret societiessecret societiesare usually in conflict with the greater societyare usually in conflict with the greater societyInitiation creates hierarchyInitiation creates hierarchy
  14. 14. Modern Conflict TheoryModern Conflict Theory Ideas of Marx, Weber, and SimmelIdeas of Marx, Weber, and Simmelresurfaced in America in the 1950’sresurfaced in America in the 1950’sthrough two German Sociologists:through two German Sociologists:1.1. Lewis CoserLewis Coser2.2. Ralph DahrendorfRalph Dahrendorf
  15. 15. Lewis Coser (1913-2003)Lewis Coser (1913-2003) Defined conflict as “a struggle over valuesDefined conflict as “a struggle over valuesand claims to scarce status, power andand claims to scarce status, power andresources in which the aims of theresources in which the aims of theopponents are to neutralize, injure, oropponents are to neutralize, injure, oreliminate their rivals.”eliminate their rivals.” Conflicts between intergroups andConflicts between intergroups andintragroups are part of social lifeintragroups are part of social life
  16. 16. Lewis Coser (1913-2003)Lewis Coser (1913-2003) Conflict is part of relationships and is notConflict is part of relationships and is notnecessarily a sign of instabilitynecessarily a sign of instability Conflict serves several functions:Conflict serves several functions:1.1. Leads to social changeLeads to social change2.2. Can stimulate innovationCan stimulate innovation3.3. During times of war threat, can increaseDuring times of war threat, can increasecentral powercentral power
  17. 17. Lewis Coser (1913-2003)Lewis Coser (1913-2003) Explored sixteen propositions of conflictExplored sixteen propositions of conflictthrough functionsthrough functions Thought that conflict= boundariesThought that conflict= boundariesbetween different groupsbetween different groups unityunitybetween individual members of thatbetween individual members of thatgroup and determines boundaries ofgroup and determines boundaries ofpowerpower
  18. 18. Ralf Dahrendorf (1929- )Ralf Dahrendorf (1929- ) Social order is maintained by force fromSocial order is maintained by force fromthe topthe top Tension is constantTension is constant Extreme social change can happen at anyExtreme social change can happen at anytimetime ““there cannot be conflict unless somethere cannot be conflict unless somedegreee of consensus has already beendegreee of consensus has already beenestablished” (p. 89)established” (p. 89) Once reached, conflict temporarilyOnce reached, conflict temporarilydisappearsdisappears
  19. 19. C. Wright Mills (1916-1962)C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) Work centered around powerWork centered around power Several dimensions of inequality (likeSeveral dimensions of inequality (likeWeber)Weber) Power can be independent from economicPower can be independent from economicclassclass Version of conflict theory-closer toVersion of conflict theory-closer toWeber’s than MarxWeber’s than Marx
  20. 20. C. Wright Mills (1916-1962)C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) Concept of power elite, rather than rulingConcept of power elite, rather than rulingclass=difference between Marx and Millsclass=difference between Marx and Mills There is a triangle of power:There is a triangle of power:1.1. MilitaryMilitary2.2. IndustryIndustry3.3. PoliticsPolitics White-collar world kept power elite onWhite-collar world kept power elite ontoptop
  21. 21. C. Wright Mills (1916-1962)C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) There are three types of power:There are three types of power:1.1. Authority:Authority: power justified by the beliefs ofpower justified by the beliefs ofthe voluntarily obedientthe voluntarily obedient2.2. Manipulation:Manipulation: power wielded unknown topower wielded unknown tothe powerlessthe powerless3.3. Coercion:Coercion: the “final” form of power, wherethe “final” form of power, wherethe powerless are forced to obey thethe powerless are forced to obey thepowerfulpowerful
  22. 22. Randall Collins (1941- )Randall Collins (1941- ) ““power and status are fundamentalpower and status are fundamentalrelational dimensions at the micro level ofrelational dimensions at the micro level ofsocial interaction and perhaps at thesocial interaction and perhaps at themacro level as well” (p. 96)macro level as well” (p. 96) Collins believes there are certain goodsCollins believes there are certain goodsthat every group wants to pursuethat every group wants to pursueWealth, power, and prestigeWealth, power, and prestige ““Concluded that coercion and the ability toConcluded that coercion and the ability to“force” others to behave a certain way are“force” others to behave a certain way arethe primary basis of conflict” (p.96)the primary basis of conflict” (p.96)
  23. 23. Randall Collins (1941- )Randall Collins (1941- ) Had aHad a stratifiedstratifiedapproachapproach to conflictto conflictthat had 3 basicthat had 3 basicprinciples and 5principles and 5principles of conflictprinciples of conflictanalysisanalysisSocialStructureIndividualactions
  24. 24. RelevancyRelevancy Maintains that what social order does, isMaintains that what social order does, isthe result of power elites’ coercion ofthe result of power elites’ coercion ofmassesmasses Those without power seek social changeThose without power seek social change Two class system by MarxTwo class system by Marx Contemporary conflict theorists don’t limitContemporary conflict theorists don’t limitpower to just economics, but also look atpower to just economics, but also look atother issuesother issues
  25. 25. Relevancy (cont’d)Relevancy (cont’d) Three criticisms of conflict theory:Three criticisms of conflict theory:1.1. Ignores other ways (i.e. non-forcefulIgnores other ways (i.e. non-forcefulways in which people reach agreementsways in which people reach agreements2.2. Sides with people who lack powerSides with people who lack power3.3. Focuses on economic factors as the soleFocuses on economic factors as the soleissue for all conflict in societyissue for all conflict in society This primarily is for Marx’s approachThis primarily is for Marx’s approach
  26. 26. Relevancy (cont’d)Relevancy (cont’d) Differences in power are in all types ofDifferences in power are in all types ofinteractioninteraction Power used to be physical, but now, it’sPower used to be physical, but now, it’slegal and economiclegal and economic

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