Sociology Index

CONFLICT PERSPECTIVES

Conflict perspectives are sociological perspectives that focus on the inherent divisions of society with social inequality and the way these social divisions give rise to different and competing interests. Karl Marx is the father of the social conflict theory, a component of the four paradigms of sociology. Conflict perspectives are macro level analysis of society. The central assumption in conflict perspectives is that social structures and cultural ideas tend to reflect the interests only of some members of society rather than society as a whole. Conflict perspectives are theories in sociology and social psychology that emphasize the social inequality, political inequality, or material inequality of a social group, that critique and detract from structural functionalism and ideological conservatism. This contrasts with consensus perspective or functionalism which assume a foundation of common interest among all members of society.

Marxism and feminism are examples of conflict perspectives. Max Weber's approach to conflict is contrasted with that of Karl Marx. Conflict perspectives highlight the ideological aspects inherent in traditional thought. Conflict perspectives draw attention to power differentials, such as class conflict, and generally contrast dominant ideology thesis. World-systems theory is also a type of conflict perspective. Those nations which developed capitalistic economies early then went on to dominate other nations through colonialism and colonization.

Books on Conflict Perspectives

Social Problems: A Critical Power-Conflict Perspective - Joe R. Feagin, Clairece Booher Feagin. The roots of major societal troubles in the patterns of class, racial, and gender stratification and subordination. Explores major social problems through a conflict theory perspective. 'Social Problems: A Critical Power - Conflict Perspective' helps the reader think critically about the characteristics, impact, and roots of major social problems such as unemployment, poverty, economic decline, racism, sexism, environmental pollution, and nuclear power.

Professions and Disciplines: Functional and Conflict Perspectives by Daniel W. Rossides. This book provides a comprehensive evaluation that asks if our professions perform social functions and solve widespread social problems or merely the problems of upper-level individuals and groups? The effect of corporate world-market capitalism on professions reflected in the corporate squeeze on doctors, for example. The fallacies of professional claims of objectivity, unique knowledge bases, value-neutrality, altruism, and nonpartisanship. Demonstrates that professions are integral components of the American class system and highlights the stratification within professions and their reliance on subordinate and exploited labor. An essential reference book for any reader who wishes a greater understanding of the problems of class in the United States.

Sociological Readings in the Conflict Perspective by William J. Chambliss.