UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
SOSPETER NJUE MUNYI
JACINTA WAMBUI NDEGWA
SARAH MUTHONI NDUNGU
CONFLICT SYSTEM THEORY
What is Conflict?
Conflicts are generally defined as relational disputes between two or more parties, in which those involved perceive a threat to their interests coming from those on the other side of the disagreement. While this can describe a variety of conflict, it does not explain the full range of possibilities with this term. There are several types of conflict, each of which carries a different level of subjectivity. What is a conflict system?
System theory is an approach to social life that stresses functional parts working together for a specific end. In general, this approach deals with what holds the organism together, yet when conflict theory is introduced, it explains how things fall apart. A system theory of conflict seeks to show how parts of a system do not always harmoniously work together. (Niklas Luhmann 1999) History Conflict system theory
The 19th century saw the rise of radical social theories that stressed the fact that the oppression of certain classes was part of a larger social system rather than a specific flaw of individuals with power. Marxism and anarchism are the best known of these and both stress that oppression of the working classes by the owners of capital is a system of relations, not a matter of personal immorality. The economic relations among classes in society are only one aspect of systems theory, but it has historically been by far the most important, and serves as the basis for all other theories of this type. (Niklas Luhmann 1999) From the 19th century radical theorists, what developed are the basic features of critical systems theory. In basic Marxism or anarchism, society is a functional system serving to produce needed (or wanted) goods. The workers are needed to produce the goods, while the owners take these goods and sell them at a profit, and pocket the proceeds. The workers need capital to work on, while the capitalist needs workers to do the actual producing. Therefore they form a system based on the exploitation of labor in the interest of capital. (Niklas Luhmann 1999).
How the conflict system relates to conflict?
Assessing a conflict allows us see a broad perspective on the social systems involved and is useful particularly when looking at interpersonal conflict. Full assessment can be accomplished by using the systems theory. This is because it will tell us about the workings of the entire systems and subsystems in businesses, small groups, and families (Wilmot and Hocker, 2007). This is accomplished by looking at three factors: assessing the workings of the overall system; determining the recurring patterns inside the system that are connected to the conflict and; identifying individual contributions to the overall system. Instead of labeling one person as the cause of the entire conflict, we should look for predictable chain of events since what any one person does will affect every other person involved in the conflict. We should use descriptive language when we assess the situation to form a "no blame" perspective (Wilmot and Hocker, 2007). We should look at the specific role of each person in the system to help the process itself to change. When certain people in the situation specialize in a certain function, others may not develop that capability (Wilmot and Hocker, 2007). A good example would be new parents. The mother may take care of the new baby and practically shoe the father away from any thing because she feels she knows what is best for the baby. In the meantime, the father misses out on bonding time and learning techniques to soothe...
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