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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.
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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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.