conflict theory

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conflict theory

  1. any theory or collection of theories which emphasizes the role of CONFLICT (especially between groups and classes) in human societies.
  2. more specifically, the relatively diffuse collection of theories that, in the 1960s, were ranged against, and contested the dominance of, Parsonian STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONALISM and its emphasis on societies as mainly governed by value consensus and the internalization of institutionalized shared values. The main feature of such conflict theories was that:
  1. they accused functionalist sociologies of disregarding conflicts of value and interest in human societies, or at best regarding these as a secondary phenomenon;
  2. as an alternative to functionalism, they offered an account of both the integration of society and of social change which emphasized the role of POWER and COERCION and the pursuit of economic and political interests in human affairs, as well as the more general role of conflict.
While some versions of conflict theory were Marxist or influenced by Marxism (e.g. GOULDNER), others were not, and were advanced on a more eclectic basis. One important approach, for example, was based on the work of SIMMEL (e.g. Lewis Coser, 1956) and emphasized the social functions as well as the disruptive effects of conflict. Still others (e.g. DAHRENDORF, REX) emphasized the significance of WEBER as well as of Marx in the study of conflict. In a highly influential article (‘Social integration and system integration’, 1964), David LOCKWOOD underlined the importance of an approach in which conflict was more central than in functionalism, when he drew attention once again to the existence of ‘social conflicts’ and ‘system contradictions’, as well as ‘social integration’ and ‘system integration’, as major elements in social life (see also SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND SYSTEM INTEGRATION). In the 1970s and subsequently with the reflourishing of a full range of conflict theories, simple distinctions between ‘functionalism’ and ‘conflict theory’ are no longer important, and with this the usage of ‘conflict theory’ in sense 2 has faded.
References in periodicals archive ?
ensure an integrated conflict perspective, full adherence to the sub-goal 5 (Human Security and freedom from violence) in the Swedish Aid Policy Framework and implementation of the strategy on Human Security,
Although conflict should be accepted from the conflict perspective point of view, interaction theory is being emphasized so that a coordinated, calm, and stressless group is inclined to go back to its own human nature i.
The Conflict Prevention Directorate and the Planning Directorate provide conflict assessment, prevention and resolution tools and have developed the Interagency Planni Framework and the Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework, a cross-cutting means of examining a nation through a conflict perspective.
Participants assessed radios role in todays Pakistan from a peace and conflict perspective, shared their experiences of how radio programming can be geared towards promoting coexistence and tolerance in Pakistani society.
Juventud y diferencia: una reflexion a partir de los conflictos Youth and Difference: A Reflexion from a Conflict Perspective
To be faithful to that heritage and to understand it, we need a conflict perspective, not least in solidarity with all who long for change today.
The author offers alternative discourses to"balance" the dominant discourses, adding a conflict perspective, critical pedagogy perspective and post-colonial approaches to conflict that might be useful.
The conflict perspective asserts that the notion of social control by the state grew out of social inequalities and the struggle that exists between different social classes and social interests.
The final chapter of the book summarizes the argument, considers two other Middle Eastern countries (Tunisia and Iraq) which had similar regimes in the early nineteenth century but which did not undertake foreign expansion, and offers a stimulating but more tentative application of the domestic political conflict perspective to a contemporary case of attempted foreign expansion--the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
The overview includes the functionalist and the conflict perspectives and symbolic interactionism.

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