215 chapter 8 Sociology In Our Times: The Essentials) this is to suggest that the different classes in society are in conflict because the more powerful groups maintain and control the distribution of resources, rewards, privileges and opportunities by exploiting the less powerful. They also believe that inequality is a result of profits being generated from the cost of labour being less than the cost of the goods and services being produced from that labour, also known as the surplus value. Conflict theorists do not believe that stratification is functional for society, or that it serves as a source of stability. Rather, they believe that stratification will lead to instability and social change.
“Power relationships are shaped by people’s mental biases and beliefs about individuals in other groups” (pg. 108 Social Inequality). Despite the creation of new groups,
The conflict theory approach emphasizes issues of inequality and change in relation to social class, money, race ethnicity and gender. The conflict theory pinpoints the belief that these social classifications are parasitic: only benefiting one group while negatively affecting another. In particular, the social conflict approach focuses on the struggles that lower-class people face in a world where the rich and powerful benefits at their expense. Persons of the lower-class are often disadvantaged, since they are not given a chance to move ahead and are always stuck at the bottom of the social ladder. Upper-class individuals are able to fully educate their children, and hence, their generation will always be rich and powerful. However, a weakness
Conflict theorist have an opposing view, that the inequality seen in society is a result of domination and coercion where those with power, wealth and prestige exploit those without to maintain their standings. They believe that that every person and class are fighting over a limited number of resources and each is competing for an advantage. Wealth inequality is unfair because the elites, those in control of “societal resources” use those resources to perpetuate their own standing by shaping the belief system of society, controlling the distribution of resources, and blocking the mobility and opportunities of the poor. Because the wealth inequality is inherently unfair, conflict theorist argue that the disadvantaged in society should be given support by redirecting the “societal resources” to those in need. 
The organizational structures of political and economic systems cause and sustain the sort of hierarchical relations that enable dramatic differences between and across sectors of societies. Within these hierarchies, the people at the top have privilege, wealth, and power, while those at the bottom of the hierarchy are dominated, oppressed, and exploited (Christie, 1997). People are harmed and killed as a result of structural violence but, unlike direct violence, it occurs more slowly. The harm or death of oppressed people may come about because “some people are deprived of food, shelter, healthcare, and other resources” (Christie, 1997). Because structural violence is embedded in a society’s way of being, over the long-term, groups of people may not be able to meet their basic needs to the degree that normal development and growth is impacted.
As an individual I can recognize and challenge power imbalances in many ways. I think recognizing that there is a problem is the first step
A world of system designed to keep people in unjust and unequal positions is held in place by several interrelated expression of "power over": political power, economic power, physical force, and ideological power (Bishop, 1994: 36). So, we can say power is defined as a possession of control, authority or influence over others. In terms of power of dominant groups over subordinate groups, we define power as domination of one group of people over another in major important spheres of life. Power inequities have been in existence throughout the history of humanity and the ways of manifestation evolved from extreme overt oppression to subtle, covert oppression. Three major forms of power inequalities discussed in this paper are
Conflict Theory sees social life as a competition, and focuses on the distribution of resources, power and inequality. Unlike functionalist theory, conflict theory is better at explaining social change and weaker at explaining social stability. Conflict theory has been critiqued for its inability to explain social stability and incremental change. For example, a conflict theorist might ask, "Who benefits from the current higher educational system in the U.S.?” The response is for a conflict theorist accustomed to imbalanced amounts of wealth, is the wealthy. After all, higher education in the U.S. is not cheap. The education system frequently siphons through poorer individuals, not because they cannot contend academically, but rather that they cannot afford to their education, monetarily. For this reason the poor are unable to achieve higher education, they are generally also unable to gain higher paying jobs, and, therefore, they remain poor. This tehn becomes a vicious cycle of poverty.
The primary goal of Social Conflict is to examine the relationship between the ruling class and the process by which deviance is defined and controlled in capitalist society. The government creates laws and rules to maintain the power and position for the power elite. Centering around a view of society in which the elite class uses the criminal justice system as a means of controlling threats to its status.
Sociologists view power as a system of stratification that is based its ability to direct another person’s behavior, honor and prestige, which most of the times leads to patterns of social inequality. From this perspective, inequality means who gets what, how they get whatever they need, and why they need it in the first place (Diez, 2013). Power can either lead to social equality or inequality. In order to explain this in detail, the author of this paper explains two incidences, the first one in which the author was in power and the second one in which the author was a perpetrator of discrimination.
Conflict theory allows us to see the conflict between social life and capitalism. Marx saw the power struggle between classes and felt that it is wrong to ignore inequality. One of the biggest inequalities between the two classes was the alienation of the workers (Morrison, 2006). Only one class, the wealthy gains the full benefit of the labor. An example of this is a worker who builds something that they will never be able to afford. Because of this the worker loses control of their production. This is what conflict theory is, the power struggle between two
Conflict theory is the theory that human behavior in social contexts is the result of conflicts between competing groups, as different social groups, be they class-, gender- or race-defined, have unequal power and access to power, yet all groups compete for limited resources. This inevitably gives rise to tension and conflict, albeit often of the subtle variety, as oftentimes the conflicts between groups have been institutionalized in society to such a degree that the conflicts and tensions are such an expected part of society that the conflict, and inequality, itself disappears from public sight, and consciousness. For example, an adherent of a world systems theory of conflict would point to the global competition for resources, particularly the inequality between rich and poor nations struggling to provide the basic necessities of life to their inhabitants, as evidence of global conflict. Conflict theories seek to explain the interactions of groups within society, and assert that social order is preserved involuntarily through the exercise of power one social class holds over another (Lindsey, 2010, 7). The conflict between groups is not always obvious or apparent, so it must be unraveled and examined in order to identify and establish the impact of such conflict on society as a whole, as well as individual members and social groupings.
One major link includes the fight between an oppressed group and their persecutors. Whether it’s the proletariat and the bourgeois in “The Communist Manifesto,” or the inequality of genders in “The Second Sex,” or the flight of the African Americans in the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. In all of these texts we are shown how easy it is for one group to abuse their power and create unfair rules and regulations only imposed on the more inferior members of society. Each group of oppressor thrives off of alienating, and subjugating their inferiors.