What is Conflict Theory? Conflict theory is a sociological perspective in social science that emphasizes a materialistic interpretation of society, dialectical process of analysis, an oppositional political approach toward present social structures, and a strong oppositional political perspective toward revolutionary change. The theories of conflict theory are also called “the clash solution.” In this article, we will see what is conflict theory, how it helps us understand society, how it relates to revolutionary change, and how to make the most use of it in our daily lives.
According to what is conflict theory, the working class tends to become confused and disoriented when faced with too many conflicting demands from within and without. For example, there may be too much pressure from the corporate world to sell products at fast rates, resulting in a mass buying of products, which results in low quality products, and a worker dissatisfaction that can lead to strikes. On the other hand, there may be too much pressure from the working class to sell trendy fashion items at low prices, and a mass abstention from purchasing such items results in lower profits for the business owners. Both sides may feel the pressure of their responsibilities, and the working class has its eyes on the prize of maximum profit, with neither group feeling in control of the outcome.
According to what is conflict theory, there is an inevitable tendency toward progressive domination of whatever is in existence. This inevitably happens when one group has enough resources to dominate another in a particular area or realm of life. The end result is domination, with the exploited oppressed group no longer having any real interests other than those of the exploiters. This is why there are so many struggles between classes today, with one struggling for better wages and conditions while the other struggles against mass layoffs, unemployment, and other negative developments.
What is conflict theory assumes that this is the natural course of events within society, the normal progressive progression of the economy. However, there have been times when things have gone out of order, perhaps resulting in a setback for the working class. When this happens, theories assume that one sector or another attempts to reassert itself and regain lost ground. In fact, what happens is that different sectors compete with each other for sales in the name of winning over the consumers. Different businesses try to strengthen their hold on the consumers by lowering prices, offering discounts, or providing incentives.
What is conflict theory then according to its premise is that a group seeking to gain dominance over another within society must set up some kind of a struggle. It is believed that the forces that drive this struggle must be balanced by another group which seeks to preserve the limited resources it currently has. Sometimes this comes about through a struggle for supremacy within a particular industry, such as certain religious groups fighting against other groups who wish to impose stricter rules over their daily activities. Sometimes it results from a battle for territory, between those who want to colonize areas they occupy and those who are attempting to preserve their native culture.
It is believed that one of the major purposes behind these conflicts is so that one group can gain an advantage over another. The more experienced and powerful a group becomes, the more likely it would eventually become the predominant power in society. With what is conflict theory, this is what is meant when an older culture is unable to deal with the changes that are taking place in modern society. It is meant when a new culture, or an older one becomes incapable of understanding or dealing with the complexity of today’s world. With what is conflict theory, these are the conflicts that we see all around us, in the media, in politics, and in our day-to-day lives. Thus, it would eventually result in a need for a new set of rules or a new set of values.
With what is conflict theory, conflict is used as a tool for a higher goal. For the limited resources and the less experienced and powerful, conflict may be used to push back against the ever-changing present. But for the more experienced and powerful, conflict is what is needed for them to be able to move on. Now, this is where conflict theorists believe that conflict can never be the answer because it only serves as a stepping stone. For a better solution, it is suggested that a change in values should take place, one that is not based on what is currently being done, but rather on what is best for humanity and the planet.
It is also said that what is conflict theory is wrong for the current generation. The younger generations have grown accustomed to fast mobility and easy answers. Thus, it is argued that this theory will never work. In addition to this, what is conflict theory was also believed to be very impractical, as it would require massive changes in a vast number of societies and cultures, most of which do not have the slightest idea about what conflict means. So, what is conflict theory then?