Social Conflict Notes

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 64
  • Published : December 7, 2010
Open Document
Text Preview
Thinking Sociologically

From: Will Keenan

Social Conflict Perspective

Discussion Themes: Conflict: Positive & Negative Aspects

Is society inherently, inevitably and universally ‘conflictual’?

1. When is conflict ever productive of social benefits?
2. Identify areas of social conflict that have wider ethical significance.

Further Readings

Follow-Up:

Articles by: David F. Walsh Structure/Agency, pp. 8-33;

Fran Tonkiss continuity/Change, pp. 34-48; and

Don Slater Needs/Wants, pp. 315-28.

in Jenks, Chris (ed.) (1998) Core Sociological Dichotomies (Sage),

Making Notes

Look up the SUBJECT INDEX of Jenks (ed.) and at least 1 Introductory Textbook/Encyclopaedia/Dictionary in Sociology

and make notes under the following themes: basic Marxism; social conflict; social change; interests; power

The Conflict Perspective: Key Ideas:

In this view ‘Society’ is regarded as a scene of fundamental conflict between opposing interest groups.

These conflicting interests may be based on: social class; race and ethnicity; gender and sexual orientation; disability; age, religion, cultural taste etc.

There is no consensus other than a manipulated and manufactured one serving the dominant social groups’ interests.

Society has no set purpose and no overarching goals outside these struggles for dominance and privilege.

Key Names: Marx, Althusser, Gramsci, Poulantzas, Milliband, Stuart Hall

Debates: KEY CONCEPTS

FUNCTIONALISM vs MARXISM

ORDER vs CONFLICT

STABILITY vs CHANGE

NEEDS vs INTERESTS

CONSENSUS vs DISSENSUS

INTEGRATION vs DIVISION

HARMONY vs STRUGGLE

‘Big Guns’

Key Names: Marx(ists), Althusser, Gramsci, Poulantzas, Stuart Hall etc

Frankfurt School: Marcuse, Adorno, Habermas, Critical Theorists

Radical Feminism from Simone de Bouvoir to bell hooks

Core elements of the ‘Marxian’ CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE

Social class based on economic ownership is the key to power in society

Class conflict is the source of all social power, social change and progress

A ruling class and its subject classes are engaged in exploitative social relationships

Class consciousness and False Consciousness characterize social life

Alienation is the condition of exploited classes under capitalism

Economic base (or infrastructure) and Political / Ideological superstructure

Some Further Ideas

Althusser employs the following key ideas:

"Ideological State Apparatuses" (ISAs)

- mass media; education?

"Repressive State Apparatuses" (RSAs) - - Hegemony

Gramsci refers to ‘organic intellectuals’

Stuart Hall: the importance of culture

CRITIQUE

Unscientific (the "Faith of Marxism" - Popper)

Conspiracy theory (especially aimed at Instrumental Marxists)

Communism does not appear imminent

Left Functionalism (Jock Young: argues most "Marxism" is little more than form of Functionalism that replaces interests of "society" with "ruling class").

Subjective beliefs and interpretations of individuals ignored (Weber)

Economic determinism

Forms of (non-economic) conflict (gender, ethnic group) ignored in favour of economic conflicts

Key Critics

Popper, Weber, Dahrendorf,

New Left ‘Idealism’

New Right Theorists

Sociobiologists

Radical Feminists

Postmodernists

Conflict and Change …

Order/Conflict Practical Activity

Break into groups of 4 or 5 persons

Identify a Spokesperson for Feedback

Select ANY 2 THEMES on the handout list

See if you can briefly identify the ORDER and the CONFLICT potential of your 2 themes.

It would be great if groups chose at least 1 theme that was different from that of other groups

TASK 1:-

Consider any TWO of the following themes and identify aspects of social order and social conflict:

Themes

WAR

RACE/ETHNICITY

GENDER/SEXUALITY

RELIGION

AGE

STYLE

TASTE

SPORT

Task 2:- The ‘Peace in the Feud’ Principle

IDENTIFY ‘DUAL’ ASPECTS of...
tracking img