Introduction and Brief Overview of Conflict Theory

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Brief Overview of Conflict Theory:

Brief Overview of Conflict Theory An Introduction

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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.

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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

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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

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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 society’s identity and goals