Conflict Perspective and security

Conflict Perspective and security

In the previous discussion of sociological theories be it at functionalism (macro-level) or micro-level (symbolic interactionism), a common assumption is that the social arrangement and interactional situations which govern social reality are a product of the people involved. They existence of social arrangement and some interactional, social situation that seem to favour some groups more than other is never questioned. Social inequalities in terms of access to and ability to use and control resources in society are accepted as given and unproblematic (Meighan, 1986). Even at that, conservative functionalists accept that social groups can have differences of interest resulting in conflict as a valid and necessary part of social discourse though they undermine the significance of such conflict in disputing the social order.

The failure of both consensus and action perspective to provide satisfactory answers to the question of inequitable distribution of resources or exploitative relationships preventing the society, makes it necessary to come up with an alternative theory of how to societies hold together and develop as way of showing how order and coherence in society are founded on conflict and the domination of some over others.

This new theory comes up from Karl Marx writings. The theory breaks
with the Durkheimian view of the primary society over the individual by focusing on the notion of power as the mediating factor in its concept of binary opposition and further opened the door to a number of other theories especially in those areas where the concept of binary opposition and the notion of power gave support. In the view of the Marx, the basic aspect of social order is to be found in the concept of binary opposition. Social order is achieved through a continual process of disputed interaction between men, of sectional struggles and of the imposition of order by those who win power (Meighan, 1986). Going by the Marxian Binary model, the conflict theorists demonstrate that though the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots or those who own the means of production and the forces of production are binary opposites, the notion of power mediates between each pair of opposites. This mediation occurs at two levels:
(i) It empowers certain individuals within a group to shape, direct and define the rules governing the conduct of the group members as a way of managing intra-group conflict and maintaining order.
(ii) It enables one group of people to successfully overcome opposition from other groups or even other individuals.
This way, all social arrangements governing the interrelationship between individual’s action and the structure of the society and all interaction situations are therefore subjected to a pervasive Hegelian dialectical analysis

There are many varieties of the conflict perspective within sociology as pointed out by Haralambos and Holborn (2000). They are united in the following ways:

(i) View society as a whole

(ii) Adopt a structural approach.
(iii) Use the notion of the existence of different groups that have
different interests in the society resulting in conflict.
(iv) They submit that social arrangements will tend to favour some
groups at the expense of others.
Just as it is with functionalists, the conflict theorists also inclined themselves towards the study of social structures and institutions.
As pointed out by Ritzer (1996) however, conflict theory represents majority a series of contentions that often contradict the views of the functionalists about social reality.

Several varieties of conflict theories thus exist, but the focus here will be only on three of such names; Marxism, Neo-Marxism and Feminism.

Conflict Perspective and security Conflict Perspective and security Reviewed by hitsloaded on December 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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