Conflict Theory and Conflict Between Social Classes

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Conflict theory began with Karl Marx and his belief that capitalist societies are powered and controlled the conflict between social classes. Those who possessed a means of production, called the bourgeois, and and those that had to work for the bourgeois, called the proletariat. He felt that all elements of society were based around this struggle for control and for resources (Kendall 2014: 12 ). Conflict theorists believe that all humans behavior, all our social norms, all our systems of government, our employment, and our systems of education are the result of conflicts between competing groups. All of society is shaped by this great power struggle. Conflict theory depends on an unequal power balance, one group controls the other group, using their social power to keep the other group subjugated. Conflict theory has evolved past just considering class and has began to consider other competing groups. The struggles between men and women, rich and poor, whites and people of color, and LGBTQIA individuals and straight people are now taken into consideration by conflict theorists. Society is constantly changing because of the battles between conflicting interests (Kendall 2014: 17). Conflict perspective views mental illness as the result of stress that comes from being a member of a subjugated, low income group. Mental health is defined by the group in power and can be used as a tool for keeping the social balance tipped in their favor. For a member of one of these

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