Critical Analysis of the Conflict Theory

1633 Words Apr 29th, 2014 7 Pages
There are three major theories: Structural Functionalism, Symbolic Interaction, and Conflict. These theories relate to the main aspects of life in a society: organized group membership, interaction, and conflict. Out of all three of these, conflict seems to be the most straight-forward. Every person has experienced conflict in life. The main focus of this theory is how power structures and power disparities impact people’s lives (The Catholic University of America, 2008). Conflict theory according to Crossman (2013) emphasizes the role of coercion and power in producing social order. This is derived from the works of Karl Marx, who saw society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources. According to Walsh …show more content…
The essence of conflict theory is best epitomized by the classic “pyramid structure” in which an elite dictates terms to the larger masses. All major social structures, laws, and traditions in the society are designed to support those who have traditionally been in power, or the groups that are perceived to be superior in the society according to this theory (New World Encyclopedia, 2013). Conflict theory presupposes the following according to Ritzer (2007): conflict or struggle between individuals and groups who have opposing interesting or who are competing for scarce resources is the essence of social life; competition and conflict occur over many types of resources in many settings, but power and economic resources are the principal sources of conflict and competition; conflict and struggle typically result in some individuals and groups dominating and controlling others, and patterns of domination and subordination tend to be self-perpetuating; dominate social groups have a disproportionate influence on the allocation of resources and on the structure of society. Ritzer (2007) mentions that in conflict; class struggle is the most fundamental and underlies all other forms. Political, ethnic, religious, and ideological conflicts not only manifest the predominant form of class conflict and the nature of the dominant class, but also in essence would not exist at all were class conflict to be
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