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Overview of Conflict Theory

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Title: Overview of Conflict Theory


1
Brief Overview of Conflict Theory
  • An Introduction

2
  • Functionalism
  • Stability
  • Equilibrium
  • Consensus
  • Conflict theory is the major alternative to
    functionalism as an approach to analyzing the
    general structure of societies
  • States that society is composed of groups engaged
    in fierce competition for scarce resources.
  • People in positions of authority try to enforce
    conformity, which, in turn, creates resentment
    and resistance.
  • The result is a constant struggle.

3
  • Functionalists look at societies and social
    institutions as systems in which all the parts
    depend on each other and work together to create
    equilbrium
  • They do not deny the existence of conflict, but
    they believe society devleps ways to control it,
    and it is these that they analyze
  • Conflict theorists perceptions of society could
    hardly be more different
  • Where functionalists see interdependence and
    unity in society, conflict theorists see an arena
    in which groups fight for power, and the control
    of conflict means that one group is able,
    temporarily, to suppress its rivals

4
  • The conflict orientation incorporates three
    central and connected assumptions
  • People have a number of basic interests, things
    they want and attempt to acquire that are not
    defined by societies but rather are common to
    them all
  • Central to conflict perspective is an emphasis on
    power as the core of social relationships
  • Conflict thorists always view power not only as
    scarce and unequally divided and therefore a
    source of conflict but also as essentially
    coercieve.
  • There is a concern with the distribution of
    resources that give people more or less power

5
  1. Values and ideas are seen as weapons used by
    different groups to advance their own ends rather
    than as a means of defining a whole societys
    identity and goals
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