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Do You Agree with Conflict Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By jake951
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Have you ever noticed a divide in society between the privileged and who's who are not? Such as someone who is rich versus someone who is poor. This is what we call Conflict theory. How conflict theory is applied to our everyday lives can be seen through many different ideas brought about by these conflict theorists. Whether or not I agree or disagree with this theory, will be determined by the factors and situations that conflict theory has to show. Karl Marx, a philosopher, journalist, and revolutionary socialist, is considered the father of conflict theory. He pointed out the continuous competition for power between different classes in society and how the powerful groups exploit those with less. He suggested social order is maintained by domination. So power lies in the hands of those with political, economic or social resources. Conflict theorists stated that "Societies are more appropriately characterized by conflict rather than consensus"(McShane, Williams 127). This often leads to power struggles for those with less. This inequality still exists because those who are in a better position in society actively try to defend this standing. Consider the following, let's say an individual named Zack has a minimum wage income and is paying rent for a house. A conflict theorist might say the relationship between Zack and the owner would be strongly unequal. Zack could pay rent for decades and still gain no rights or economic interest with the property. Zack doesn't advance his placement in society, he remains innate, unchanging position. He pays rent and the owner collects. In this way, the owner remains above Zack and because of his already higher position, is fortunate enough to advance further. So why are the ones with less power stuck in that situation They don't have any other options. It's a repeating cycle, For example, a wealthy family can afford to send their son to receive a good education and a nice career to follow. He then passes this torch to further generations and so on. Then there is another family where both parents have mediocre jobs, but they can't afford their children's education. So these children later on find similar jobs like their parents and this inescapable trend continues. This has been happening since the dawn of civilization. Whether it was the slaves and their masters, lords and serfs, or capitalists and wage laborers. Marx argues that all of human history has always been about this conflict. In addition to that, one of the only solutions is to have a revolution by braking the political and economic domination by the higher class and reorganizing society with collective ownership and mass democratic control. If only things were this fair then maybe things could be successful for all and there wouldn't be any more struggle. Conflict theory really has to do with power struggles. Think of our society as a pyramid with the elite on top and they have structural ways of keeping people below them down and these hierarchies of structural oppression go down the pyramid. So when we look at conflict theory, we are looking for hidden agendas. Where are there class, race, and gender inequalities built into the system. For example take a degree, If you're going to look at the value of a degree, One of the questions you might have from a conflict theory lens is: Do the degrees people get just reinforce this power hierarchy because some people have access to elite institutions and get certain degrees that lead to certain jobs of power and others have less access or degrees that don't take them as far so the degrees we are getting are just reinforcing this pyramid. So, If we are always looking as a conflict theorist, it is what is happening between the groups. Most of the time they view social order is achieved through coercion, the use of power, and even force. When you attempt to come up with some concepts that reinforce the idea of this theory, you might say that groups are competitive with one another. The influence of hierarchy in conflict theory can be seen as "Power can be equated with resources, it seems that those who are higher up in the social class will be more powerful members of society. their influence in the making of social decisions, and their ability to impose values, will also be greater than those of the lower classes"(McShane, Williams 129-130). If you are on the bottom and you don't like something that is going on with people in power, you could have a revolution or stage a riot. Anytime you are dealing with the situation where people are fighting over the use of land or who's going to have what status or privilege, we are then seeing things through the eyes of a conflict theorist. Money is a big part of this. Being a member of an aristocracy or a powerful group is part of this. So in addition, we also see minority groups in conflict with the dominant groups. We see exploitation and domestic violence between men and women and sometimes children. There are numerous perspectives of conflict theory on the law. Most of the conflict theorists talk about the law as a way of maintain inequality. That the law is there to advance the interests of people in power, usually people with money. There are also conflict theories that argue about morality or moral entrepreneurs, people that use the criminal law to impose their morality on other people despite the fact that it is not widely held belief and an example would be things like prostitution or other vices that are widely utilized by large segments of the population, but there are smaller segments of the population that view these vices as immoral and therefore, they influence the criminal law to impose their morality on others. The economic theories argued that the power classes use the criminal justice system as the last resort, as the last means possible to control the underclass. The powerful influence in control all institutions, the educational institution, the practice of medicine, and everything. In conclusion, I would say that I agree with these concepts from the conflict theory. These ideas of a hierarchy in our society that allow some to have more than others is a very well known fact in today's world. Also, the way the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor is theoretically due to the idea that this pyramid scheme of the rich at the top doesn't allow for much success rate of climbing up due to the criminological factors of laws that oppress them rather than help them.

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