Sociology 201

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Max Weber Pages: 3 (920 words) Published: August 3, 2013
Deb AngilleySociology 201
Term EssayProf. Peet

Conflict Theory

Conflict theory originated with the work of Karl Marx in the mid 1800. Marx understood human society in terms of conflict between social classes, most notably the conflict in capitalist societies between the Bourgeois; those who owned the means, such as factories or farms, and the proletariat; those who did the work on the factories and on the farms. Even though there are now different versions of conflict theory that has been described, the most common version is that the different social groups or classes have unequal power, though all of them are struggling for the same limited resources. Conflict Theorists assume that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between the competing groups or classes. These groups are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of much needed resources. Marxism is the social theory that emphasizes on the on the notion that society is based on the unequal distribution of power and resources, and by a conflict of interests between the wealthy and the poor. The wealthy using their resources and roles of power to manipulate and maintain the social order. This is best explained a pyramid structure, where the few elite dictate to the large masses of society. Laws and traditions are made or designed to support those in society that have been in power, or the groups that are recognized as superior. Conflict theorists argue that all groups are born from conflict. For example, labor unions, which are developed to fight for the rights of workers, whereas trade organizations are developed to fight for the interests of the wealthy class, or business owners. This theory is opposed to functionalism, where each of the groups plays a specific, role in society. In functionalism, the groups cooperate, and this benefits society whereas in conflict theory they are in competition with one another as they try to better...
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