Following Simmel’s work on conflict, Lewis Coser focused on the functions of conflict through a functionalist perspective. He concluded that conflict was inclined to be dysfunctional only for social structures in which there was insufficient toleration or institutionalization of conflict. Highly intense conflicts that threatened to "tear apart" society tend to arose only in rigid social structures. Thus, what threatened social structures was not conflict as such, but rather the rigid character of those structures. With a developed theory, comes the criticism of how applicable the theory applies the real world and can it be prominently viewed within society? I believe that Coser’s theory is not only very applicable to society but these social structure conflicts can be seen through various events that have occurred in history. By looking at history, there is a macro level perspective in demonstrating the two social structure conflicts, and history consists of events which can serve as proof to help support Coser’s theory. I intend on finding historical events and show how each event relates to the functions of conflict Coser has brought up. By doing this, I will be demonstrating Coser’s theory in relation to the real world.
Taking part in almost a half century conflict, the Cold War is a very recent well known historical event that can be considered quite fresh for discussion. This event follows the intergroup conflict model, depicting rival interests of groups with distinct memberships. The Cold War was a rivalry that heavily emphasized the competition between America’s capitalism and Russia’s communism. After WWII, the major superpowers afterwards were America and the USSR and it would make sense that after their truce, they would begin to compete against one another for world dominance. Competing in different areas, each country’s economic ideals shaped their competition with one another in achieving military and economic powers. Both...
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