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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Research Paper on Conflict Theory

Research Paper on Conflict Theory

The conflict theory is one of the three major paradigms in sociology. The concept of conflict theory explains social life through understanding social processes and events as the result of the constant struggle between groups. It views struggle for power and resources between groups as a core of social relationships. This theory rooted primarily from the works of Karl Marx. Marx viewed the society as composed of different groups with competing interests. 

In conflict theory viewpoint, power and authority is seen as great factors in shaping the individual. It believes that individuals’ and groups’ aim to hold power and authority leads to clashes between those with different interests. Most of the time, group or people that compete over power and scarce resource have unequal power.  There would be groups that would flourish in expense of the others.  The theory focuses on how the dominant group exploits the minorities. Minor group will always struggle to overthrow the rule of the dominant group. This competition between groups or classes is seen as what determines social change in the society. Conflict theory also believed that the change in the society is inevitable and changes could be beneficial or destructive. It views conflict as desirable in a society because it allows social change. This theory believes that it is not cooperation as the key in maintaining social order, rather it is the force.  Another assumption of the theory is that conflict is universal and inequality is seen everywhere. 

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Conflict theory might have provided us understanding on the constant power struggles and how this could explain social relations there are still some criticisms against it. First, it ignores other ways where people get to meet in between and set arrangements that will benefit them both. It does not acknowledge that there could be alliances and settlements even to different groups. Secondly, the theory focuses on economic factors as the main thing that causes conflict in the society. It failed to capture other factors like differences in values, beliefs, etc as other sources of conflicts. Lastly, it fails to explain social stability. Some critics also questioned the deterministic nature of the theory. In conflict theory it is stated that there are always the group that will win and the group who will lose. This is not true all the time, societies now have mechanisms to allocate resources and come to certain negotiations.
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