Sociology Index


Consensus perspective is also known as functionalism. The foundation of consensus perspective is the assumption that societies have an inherent tendency to maintain themselves in a state of relative equilibrium through the mutually and supportive interaction of their principal institutions. Consensus perspective is a sociological perspective in which social order and stability forms the base of emphasis. Consensus theory is concerned with the maintenance or continuation of social order in society. The consensus perspective approach also assumes that effective maintenance of a particular form of society is in the common interest of all its members. Functionalism is often referred to as consensus perspective because it doesn’t address the issue of conflict in society, rather it projects an ideal picture of harmonious social relationships.

Consensus Perspective, Cooperation Perspective and Conflict Perspective

Sociological theories could be classified into consensus perspective and conflict perspective. Consensus is a concept of society in which the absence of conflict is seen as the equilibrium state of society based on a general or widespread agreement among all members of a particular society.

Conflict is a disagreement or clash between opposing ideas, principles, or people-this can be a covert or overt conflict.

Relationships involve political processes, which can be understood from a consensus perspective and a conflict perspective:

From the consensus perspective, mutual commitment, trust, and conversation are important to build fruitful relationships.

From the conflict perspective, tensions, conflicts, and power games are considered unavoidable aspects of social interaction, which create change and renewal.

Consensus, Conflict and Cooperation: A Sociological Inventory
Irving Louis Horowitz.

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to explain the growth and popularity of consensus theory in present day sociology. It seeks to explore shortcomings in the current employment of the concept of consensus, and in so doing to explain the continued relevance of conflict theory for sociological research.

The final aim is to logically distinguish consensus and conflict from the general theory of cooperation—particularly to show that consensus and cooperation do not mutually entail each other. The equation of consensus to social structure and conflict to social dynamics is subjected to criticism on the grounds that such a dichotomization prevents the effective development of a sociological theory of change and process.

Maria Aggestam, Hans Falck, Lund University. Abstract: The Washington Consensus reforms of privatisation, liberalisation and macroeconomic stability have, to a large extent, been implemented in Poland. The banks and a majority of other state-owned enterprises have been privatised, and the trade structure has been liberalised.

Abstract: Events are organized by several different actors with individual interests. In order to perform the project task at hand, actors form relationships aimed at cooperation. Relationships involve political processes, which can be understood from a consensus perspective and a conflict perspective. From the consensus perspective, mutual commitment, trust, and conversation are important to build fruitful relationships. The findings suggest that processes within project networks are predominantly based on either a consensus perspective or a conflict perspective. However, consensus perspective and conflict perspective are not to be regarded as poles apart. Instead, they are intertwined and coexist in relational interaction. Actors use different strategies to manage political processes, aiming at building either legitimacy or mutual commitment.

Consensus-Conflict Debate: Form and Content in Social Theories - T J Bernard. In ten chapters this book analyzes the social theories of seven pairs of philosophers to determine their assumptions about human nature and their views of the good or ideal society. From this analysis, four types of conflict and consensus theory are developed: conservative consensus (held by Aristotle, Aquinas, and Locke), sociological consensus (held by Hobbes, Durkheim, and Parsons), radical conflict (held by Plato, Rousseau, and Marx), and sociological conflict (held by Machiavelli, Simmel, and Dahrendorf). Abstract: The debate between the consensus and conflict theories has been clouded by differences in what is good or ideal, thus causing one group of theorists to attack another group's social arrangements as undesirable and illegitimate. Sociological analysis can avoid unproductive debate by aiming for value neutrality and dealing in clear theoretical statements about human nature. Until sociologists achieve this precision, the consensus-conflict debate will rage on.