Harriet Martineau and the Conflict Theory

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Harriett Martineau/ Conflict Theorist


Instructor: Emily Frydrych

Ashley Holley


When I look over the theories we have discussed in our text: functionalism,symbolic interaction and conflict, I think the one I relate to best is the conflict theorist. The conflict theorist that I agree with the most is Harriet Martineau. She was a conflict theorist that the book describes as, “Scholar Harriet Martineau (1803–1876), an English opponent of slavery and capitalism who felt they oppressed women, children, and nonwhites, translated the work of Comte so people could understand the importance of his perspective (Adams & Sydie, 2001). Regarded as a radical in her day, her work was largely dismissed by people in authority.” ( Vissing, 2011, chapter2 sect 3 para 13) There were many female activists who were active early on in the field but they were ignored until feminine activists brought it to the attention of the American public arena ( Vissing, 2011). She would best referred to as a conflict theorist.

The conflict theory is defined as, “a theory that assumes that the institutions and interactions within society foster inequality and competition, and when they are challenged, then beneficial social change can result.” ( Vissing, 2011) Our text states that Harriett Martineau was a feminine activist and also was an activist for children and non-whites. Our society has changed greatly since the 1800's and without people like Mrs. Martineu , I ,as a female, would not have the advantages I have today. Things like voting, and equality in the work place have helped women and minorities project their viewpoint into the system we have today. These activists stroved for fair working laws which would keep women in the 1800's and early 1900's from being mistreated and used. Also another important thing the feminine activists fought for was...
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