Conflict theory sees society as a dynamic reality constantly undergoing adjust as a an outcome of competition end scarce resources.

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Learning Objectives

Identify the tenets of and also contributors to problem theory, and also the criticisms made against it

Key Points

conflict theory sees social life as a competition, and focuses ~ above the circulation of resources, power, and inequality. Unequal functionalist theory, conflict theory is far better at explaining society change, and weaker at explaining society stability. Dispute theory has actually been critiqued for its i can not qualify to define social stability and also incremental change. Problem theory derives indigenous the ideas of karl Marx.

Key Terms

conflict theory: A social scientific research perspective that holds the stratification is dysfunctional and also harmful in society, v inequality perpetuated since it benefits the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor. functionalism: structural functionalism, or merely functionalism, is a structure for structure theory that sees culture as a complicated system who parts occupational together to encourage solidarity and stability.

The dispute Perspective

The conflict perspective, or conflict theory, derives native the ideas of knife Marx, that believed society is a dynamic entity constantly undergoing readjust driven by course conflict. Vice versa, functionalism understands society as a facility system striving for equilibrium, the problem perspective views social life together competition. According to the conflict perspective, society is consisted of of individuals contending for restricted resources (e.g., money, leisure, sexual partners, etc.). Competition end scarce sources is in ~ the heart of every social relationships. Competition, quite than consensus, is properties of human being relationships. Broader social structures and organizations (e.g., religions, government, etc.) reflect the competition for resources and also the innate inequality compete entails; some people and organizations have much more resources (i.e., power and also influence), and use those resources to maintain their positions of power in society.

C. Wright Mills is recognized as the founder of modern conflict theory. In his work, he believes social structures space created since of conflict between differing interests. People are then affected by the development of social structures, and the usual an outcome is a differential of power in between the ” upstream ” and also the “others”. Instances of the “elite” would certainly be government and large corporations. G. Wilhelm Domhoff believes in a similar philosophy together Mills and has written around the “power upstream of America”.

Sociologists who work from the dispute perspective research the distribution of resources, power, and also inequality. Once studying a social institution or phenomenon, lock ask, “Who services from this aspect of society? ”


Conflict Theory and Change

While functionalism emphasizes stability, dispute theory emphasizes change. According to the conflict perspective, society is continuous in conflict over resources, and also that conflict drives social change. For example, problem theorists could explain the polite rights movements of the 1960s by studying just how activists tested the racially unequal circulation of politics power and also economic resources. As in this example, problem theorists usually see social adjust as abrupt, also revolutionary, fairly than incremental. In the dispute perspective, readjust comes around through conflict in between competing interests, not consensus or adaptation. Dispute theory, therefore, offers sociologists a structure for explaining social change, in order to addressing one of the problems with the functionalist perspective.

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Criticism of dispute Theory

Predictably, problem theory has actually been criticized for its emphasis on readjust and neglect of social stability. Some movie critics acknowledge that cultures are in a constant state the change, but suggest out that much of the adjust is young or incremental, not revolutionary. For example, many modern capitalist states have actually avoided a communist revolution, and also have rather instituted fancy social company programs. Although problem theorists often emphasis on social change, they have, in fact, also developed a concept to describe social stability. According to the dispute perspective, inequalities in power and reward are constructed into every social structures. Individuals and also groups who benefit from any certain structure effort to watch it maintained. For example, the wealthy may fight to maintain their privileged accessibility to higher education by opposing steps that would expand access, such together affirmative action or windy funding.