Which Of The Following Statements Is False Regarding Culture From A Conflict Perspective

Sociology midterm questions Flashcards

Lumpenproletariat; proletariat; proletariat Marx used the word to refer to those people in society who are rejected by the capitalist system, as well as to refer to those who are members of the working class. the significance of coercion and authority All of the following exceptions are emphasized by functionalism: They were all macrosociological thinkers in their own right. What do Durkheim, Marx, and Weber have in common is that they are all philosophers. pertaining to the social structure and the institutions of the state C.

Religion is becoming increasingly prominent in society.

When one component of society is not functioning properly, it has an impact on the rest of society and leads to societal issues as a result.

Recognize the importance of values, but strive to be as impartial as possible in your thinking.

  1. Because sociologists could never be entirely value-free, Weber felt that they should study human behavior in society as a whole.
  2. Affiliation with the notion of the sociological imagination may be traced back to which of the following social philosophers?
  3. a thing made in a particular culture Material culture is comprised of the following: What role does language play in the formation of patterns of social inequality?
  4. In general, penalties for infractions of folkways are less severe than penalties for violations of more serious laws.
  5. _Cultural relativism is the theory that_ theorists are more likely to stress that cultural norms and beliefs integrate people into communities and help them form social relationships.
  6. Which of the following claims about culture is incorrect when seen from the standpoint of conflict?
  7. Cultural Diffusion is the term used to describe the transmission of cultural components from one community to another.

All of them might be potential sources.

Previous research that one would want to produce a criticism ofPrevious research that one would like to develop a critique of You have a malfunctioning gas gauge in your automobile, and it consistently reads “empty” while the tank is just half full.

In what way is it possible to conduct a study of how women are portrayed in advertisements?

Each day, Mark has lunch in the same cafeteria on campus, where he has noticed that everyone appears to sit with the same group of individuals every time they come in to eat.

What type of deductive reasoning is required here?

A study is a piece of research that is precisely the same as a prior study, but is conducted on a new set of individuals or at a different time or location than the original.

When she writes up her results, she makes broad generalizations about college students in general.

What kind of survey questions are subjected to qualitative analysis?

This is an example of a theory argument.

According to the idea of socialization known as _, if Betty receives positive reinforcement for a behavior, she is more likely to engage in that activity again.

No two persons have exactly the same experience; therefore, there is no such thing as a uniform experience.

The process through which groups and people within those groups are pulled into conformity with dominant social expectations is referred to as in sociology.

Albert is most likely to be in which of the following stages of Mead’s development?

Tommy decided to join the military, where his head was shaved, he was stripped of his personal things, and he was assigned a uniform that was similar to his other soldiers’ uniforms Tommy is going through a period of _.are places where many views regarding gender differences are created and strengthened.

  1. Social exchange theory examines social interaction in the following ways: A medical practitioner and a judge are both instances of _.they are natural extensions of society’s hierarchy of authority.
  2. It is stated in the book that social institutions are the only source of reality other than that which is created by social interaction.
  3. A full-time student and working mother of two small children, Anne balances her time between school and work.
  4. La Raza and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are examples of _organizations.
  5. Identify which of the following claims concerning reference groups is not correct: As an illustration, which of the following is an example of a unisexual duo?

If the results of Milgram and Asch were applied to a scenario such as the abuse of Iraqi inmates in the American jail Abu Ghraib, they would show that Collaborative arrangements for the accomplishment of objectives When it comes to bureaucracy, which of the following is not representative of Weber’s “ideal type”?

  1. The consequences of Milgram’s tests on obedience to authority are that there is a sense of integrating with the group in order for blame to be shared rather than focused at any individual in particular.
  2. According to the conflict view of deviance, when the elite in society break norms or laws, they are able to evade punishment because they have the resources to conceal their deviance and criminality.
  3. According to Weber, bureaucrats provide beneficial activities that contribute to the general unity of the organization.
  4. Deviance, according to functionalist thinkers, is a result of a malfunction.
  5. According to some sociologists, when certain people are stigmatized, they suffer emotionally and psychologically.
  6. According to the labeling hypothesis, the most significant flaw is that the recommended therapy for alcoholism generally entails a course of treatment, including perhaps hospitalization.
  7. Because of this, it is possible to explain the disparity by the fact that alcoholism has been Stigmatized whereas crack cocaine usage has not.

Which of the following decisions, according to Janis, was made as a consequence of collective wisdom? introducing the term “sociology” into the lexicon Auguste Comte is well known for the following:

Reading: Theoretical Perspectives on Culture

Culture is responsible for the creation of music, fashion, technology, and ideals. The question is, what do they mean? What do sociologists make of these tangible and nonmaterial objects, and how do they understand and perceive culture as a result of them? Let’s wrap up our discussion of culture by looking at it in the context of three theoretical perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism (or, more specifically, symbolic interaction). According to functionalists, society is viewed as a system in which all of its pieces work together to generate society as a whole, or function together.

  • Cultural norms serve to facilitate the flexible operation of society, while cultural ideals serve to guide people in their decision-making.
  • Culture is also studied by functionalists in terms of values.
  • The culture of education—which includes material culture such as classrooms, textbooks, libraries, and dormitories—helps to reinforce the importance put on educating a society’s members by a society’s leaders.
  • “Truth—Justice—The American Way” is written on his pedestal.
  • What does it indicate about the principles of American society, and how did it come to be?
  • Cultural concerns are perceived as perpetuating issues of “privilege” for some groups based on race, gender, social class, and other factors by conflict theorists.
  • Against a younger generation of legislators, senior citizens are fighting to defend their rights, their health care, and their independence from exploitation.

Within a culture’s value system, there are inequalities that occur.

The observance of some social standards, both official and informal, comes at the price of others.

In several places, gay and lesbian couples have been denied the opportunity to be married because of their sexual orientation.

Despite the fact that cultural variety is officially celebrated in the United States, many individuals are nevertheless opposed to inter-racial marriages in the country.

Essentially, conflict theory is concerned with the consequences of economic production and materialism: the reliance on technology in affluent countries as opposed to a lack of technology and knowledge in impoverished countries.

People who have less authority are likewise less able to adjust to cultural shifts as a result of their position.

For example, in the capitalist society of the United States, we continue to strive for the fulfillment of the promise of the American dream, which reinforces the assumption that the wealthy deserve their affluent lifestyle.

Interactionists believe that culture is generated and sustained by the manner in which people interact with one another and by the ways in which individuals interpret one another’s behaviors.

This is when the term “symbolic” is used to describe the situation.

Those who believe in symbolic interactionism regard culture as very dynamic and fluid, as it is based on how meaning is understood and how individuals interact while transmitting these meanings. They think that culture is a result of the interaction of humans when expressing meanings.

Think It Over

Consider a contemporary societal trend that you have seen, which may be centered on family, education, transportation, or economics, among other things. For example, many veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have returned from tours of duty in the Middle East are returning to education rather than entering the workforce as veterans, as previous generations have. Determine the sociological perspective you want to use to define, explain, and analyze the social issue you want to investigate.

After that, you should consider why you took the strategy you did.

Or did it provide the most effective means of illuminating the social issue?


One example is a sociologist who studies the ways in which Hispanic American pupils have traditionally been deprived in the United States educational system. What kind of theoretical framework does the sociologist employ?

  1. Ethnocentrism
  2. Symbolic interactionism
  3. Functionalism
  4. Conflict theory

2. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in 2011, has grown into an international phenomenon. Supporters feel that the economic imbalance between the richest economic classes and the middle to lower economic classes is expanding at an exponentially frightening rate, and that this is a cause for concern. In order to better understand the Occupy movement, a sociologist would most likely employ what theoretical method while investigating the relationships between participants at Occupy camps?

  1. Ethnocentrism
  2. Symbolic interactionism
  3. Functionalism
  4. Conflict theory

In accordance with which theoretical paradigm, society is seen as a system of interconnected and fundamentally related parts?

  1. Sociobiology, functionalism, conflict theory, and ethnocentrism are all terms that come to mind.

4. Which sociological theory is most frequently connected with the “American Dream”—the belief that anybody can achieve success and wealth if they put in the necessary effort—and why?

  1. Sociobiology, functionalism, conflict theory, and ethnocentrism are all terms that come to mind.

Conflict Theory: A Guide With Examples

Contrary to popular belief, conflict theory holds that society exists in a state of constant conflict as a result of the battle for finite resources. Conflict theory was initially formulated by Karl Marx. It is the belief of conflict theory that social order is maintained by domination and power rather than through consensus and compliance. Theoretical conflict theory holds that people who have wealth and power will use all methods necessary to maintain their positions, with the primary goal of repressing the poor and helpless.

Key Takeaways

  • It is the study of conflict that focuses on the rivalry of factions within a society for limited resources. Contrary to conventional wisdom, conflict theory regards social and economic institutions as means of struggle between groups or classes, which are utilized to sustain inequality as well as the power of the ruling class. According to Marxist conflict theory, society is split along the lines of economic class, with the proletariat working class and the bourgeois ruling class on one side and the bourgeois ruling class on the other. Later versions of conflict theory examine additional aspects of conflict between capitalist factions as well as between diverse social, religious, and other sorts of groupings.

Understanding Conflict Theory

Attempts have been made to explain a wide range of social events, including wars, revolutions and poverty, prejudice, and domestic violence, via the lens of conflict theory. According to this theory, capitalism’s attempts to govern the people were responsible for most of the key changes in human history, such as democracy and civil rights (as opposed to a desire for social order). Aspects of conflict theory that are particularly important include the notions of social inequality, resource division, and the conflicts that arise between people from various socioeconomic strata.

  • Some thinkers, such as Karl Marx, feel that social conflict is the driving force behind change and progress in society at the end of the day.
  • Classifications are made up of a group of people who are united by common interests and a certain degree of property ownership.
  • The other group is known as the proletariat: It comprises those who are classified as working class or impoverished.
  • In this way of thinking, there is a frequent picture linked with conflict theory-based conceptions of society; adherents to this philosophy tend to assume that commodities and services are allocated in society according to a pyramid structure.
  • It was projected that unequal distribution within society would be perpetuated by intellectual coercion; the bourgeoisie would force the proletariat to accept the prevailing arrangements.
  • Marx hypothesized that when the working class and the poor were subjected to worsening conditions, a collective consciousness would emerge, raising awareness of inequality and, perhaps, leading to a revolution.

The bourgeoisie would eventually rise to the position of aggressor and instigator of revolt, clamoring for the restoration of the systems that had previously preserved its domination.

Conflict Theory Assumptions

Competition, revolution, structural inequality, and war are the four fundamental assumptions that underpin contemporary conflict theory, and they are all important to grasp.

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Competitive theory holds that competition is a continuous and at times overpowering aspect in practically every human connection and encounter, according to conflict theorists. Competition emerges as a result of a shortage of resources, which includes material resources such as money, real estate, commodities, and other goods and services. Individuals and organizations within a community fight not just for monetary goods, but also for intangible resources such as knowledge and wisdom. Leisure time, dominance, social position, sexual partners, and other factors might be considered.


Given the assumption of conflict theorists that conflict arises between social classes, one possible conclusion of this conflict is a revolutionary event, as described below. Change in a power dynamic between groups does not occur as a result of gradual adaptation, according to the theory of gradual adaptation. Instead, it manifests itself as a symptom of the tension that exists between these two groups. As a result, rather from being progressive and evolutionary, changes in a power dynamic are frequently rapid and massive in scale.

Structural inequality

One of the most fundamental assumptions of conflict theory is that all human relationships and social systems are characterized by power imbalances. It is via this process that certain individuals and groups gain fundamentally greater power and reward than others. Following this, those individuals and organizations who profit from a certain structure of society are more likely to try to keep those structures in place as a means of keeping and strengthening their influence than others.


Conflict theorists tend to view war as either a unifier or a “cleanser” of society, depending on their perspective. Accordion to conflict theory, war is the culmination of a series of cumulative and increasing conflicts between people and organizations, as well as between whole civilizations. In the midst of a battle, a community may grow more cohesive in certain aspects, yet conflict between diverse communities continues to exist. War, on the other hand, has the potential to bring a civilization to a complete halt in its tracks.

Special Considerations

Marx regarded capitalism as a historical development of economic systems that had before it. He felt that capitalism was based on commodities, or items that could be bought and sold on the open market. His belief that labor is a form of commodity, for example, was incorrect. The fact that laborers have little influence or authority in the economic system (due to the fact that they do not own factories or raw materials) means that their worth may diminish over time.

This can lead to a power imbalance between corporate owners and their employees, which can eventually result in social unrest and war. He felt that a social and economic revolution would finally be able to resolve these issues.

Adaptations of Marx’s conflict theory

Weber, a German sociologist, philosopher, lawyer, and political economist, embraced many features of Marx’s conflict theory and subsequently improved some of Marx’s theories. He is most known for his work on the abolition of slavery. Despite the fact that Weber felt that property disputes were not restricted to a single scenario, He felt that there were several levels of conflict present at any one time and in every civilization, rather than a single layer of conflict. Unlike Marx, who defined his vision of conflict as one between owners and workers, Weber included an emotional component to his notions about conflict in his writings.

According to Weber, some types of social interaction, such as conflict, can produce beliefs and solidarity between people and groups inside a society.

As a result, an individual’s attitudes to inequality may change based on the organizations with which they are affiliated, whether they believe people in power are genuine, and other factors.

It has had a significant impact on contemporary and postmodern conceptions of sexual and racial inequality, peace and conflict studies, and the numerous forms of identity studies that have sprung up across Western academia over the last several decades.

Examples of Conflict Theory

Conflict theorists believe that the connection between a housing complex owner and a tenant is primarily built on conflict rather than balance or harmony, despite the fact that there may be more harmony than conflict in the relationship. They feel that their identity is defined by their ability to obtain whatever resources they can from one another. For example, in the example above, some of the limited resources that may contribute to conflicts between tenants and the complex owner include the limited amount of space within the complex, the limited number of units available for rent, the amount of money that tenants pay to the complex owner in rent, and so forth After all is said and done, conflict theorists perceive this dynamic as one of competition for few resources.

Although the complex owner is considerate, he or she is basically concerned with filling as many apartment units as possible in order to generate the most amount of revenue feasible from rent, especially if costs such as mortgages and utilities must be paid for.

Taking the other side of the problem is that the renters themselves are seeking for the best apartment they can find for the least amount of money they can pay in rent.

They see the financial crisis as an unavoidable consequence of the inequalities and instabilities that exist in the global economic system, which allow the largest banks and institutions to operate outside of government oversight and take enormous risks that only benefit a small number of people and institutions.

According to conflict theory, this dichotomy supports a key assumption, which is that dominant groups and people are given preferential treatment by mainstream political institutions and cultural norms.

This example demonstrates that conflict may be present in all sorts of relationships, including ones that do not appear to be adversarial on the surface of things. Also demonstrated is that even the most basic scenario can result in several levels of conflict.

What Is Conflict Theory?

A sociopolitical theory that has its origins in Karl Marx is known as conflict theory. Essentially, it attempts to explain current political and economic developments in terms of a never-ending fight for limited resources. When it comes to this battle, Marx highlights the adversarial nature of relationships across social groups, particularly the interaction between the owners of capital—who Marx refers to as the “bourgeoisie”—and the working class, whom he refers to as the “proletarians.” Conflict theory had a significant impact on nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophy, and it continues to have an impact on political discussions to this day.

What Are Some Common Criticisms of Conflict Theory?

One prominent critique leveled at conflict theory is that it fails to grasp the way in which economic transactions may benefit both the parties involved and the general public at large. Examples of this are the relationships between employers and employees, which are described as a source of conflict in which the employers seek to pay the least amount of money feasible for their workers’ labor while the employees seek to maximize their income. In actuality, however, employees and employers frequently have a positive working relationship.

Who Is Credited With Inventing Conflict Theory?

According to one prominent critique of conflict theory, it fails to represent the way in which economic interactions may benefit both the parties participating and the those at risk of losing their jobs. Examples of this are the relationships between employers and employees, which are described as a source of conflict in which the employers desire to pay the least amount of money feasible for their workers’ labor while the employees wish to maximize their income. But in actuality, employees and employers frequently enjoy a positive working relationship.

Conflict theories – Wikipedia

One prominent critique leveled at conflict theory is that it fails to grasp the way in which economic relationships may benefit both the participants and the general public. Examples of this are the relationships between employers and employees, which are described as a source of conflict in which the employers aim to pay the least amount of money feasible for their workers’ labor while the employees wish to maximize their salaries. In actuality, however, employees and employers frequently enjoy a positive working relationship.

In classical sociology

Conflict theory is most usually linked with Karl Marx (1818–1883), who is considered to be one of the traditional founders of social science. The Marxist school of thought held that capitalism, like earlier socioeconomic systems, would necessarily cause internal conflicts that would eventually lead to its own demise, based on a dialectical materialist view of history. With his proclamation of proletariat revolt and emancipation from the ruling classes, as well as his criticism of political economics, Marx heralded a new era of dramatic transformation.

Modern individuals regard private property (and the right to pass that property down through generations) as natural, and many members of capitalistic societies regard the rich as having earned their wealth through hard work and education, while considering the poor to be lacking in skill and initiative.

  1. False consciousness, as defined by Friedrich Engels, is the use of deception by the ruling class to conceal the exploitation inherent in the relationship between the proletariat and the ruling class.
  2. The acknowledgment of workers of their own identity as a class united in opposition to capitalists, and eventually against the capitalist system itself, was defined by Friedrich Engels as class consciousness.
  3. The history of every civilization that has existed up to this point is the history of class battles.
  4. Human beings are compelled to enter into specific relationships in the social productions of their life, which are independent of their volition.
  5. The whole of these production relations creates the economic structure of society, which serves as the true base upon which a legal and political superstructure is built, and to which certain forms of social awareness are assigned.
  6. Men’s life is not determined by their awareness; rather, it is determined by their social existence, which in turn influences their consciousness.
  7. These relationships transform from being means of development for the productive forces into becoming their shackles.
  8. Changes in the economic base eventually result in the modification of the entire vast superstructure, whether it happens immediately or over time.

The same way that one does not judge an individual based on his or her own self-perception, one cannot judge a period of transformation based on its or its members’ consciousness; rather, this consciousness must be explained in terms of material life’s contradictions, specifically the conflict that exists between the social forces of production and the relations of production.

As a result, humanity is compelled to set itself only those tasks that it is capable of completing, because a closer examination will always reveal that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present, or at the very least in the process of being formed.

Despite the fact that the bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production – antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism, but in the sense of antagonism that emanates from the individuals’ social conditions of existence – the productive forces developing within bourgeois society also create the material conditions for a solution to this antagonism.

  1. As a result, this social formation serves as the culmination of the prehistory of human society.
  2. Ward (1841–1913), an American sociologist and paleontologist, were two of the earliest conflict theorists to come to light.
  3. Gumplowicz outlines how civilisation has been created through struggle between cultures and ethnic groupings in his book Grundriss der Soziologie (Outlines of Sociology, 1884).
  4. The victor of a conflict would enslave the losers, and a complicated caste structure would arise as a result of this.
  5. What happened in India, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome may or may not occur in modern Europe at some point in time.
  6. The fact is that if somebody thinks that we are secure from such tragedies, he or she is probably succumbing to an all too hopeful hallucination.
  7. Ward openly opposed and sought to rigorously debunk the laissez-fairephilosophy of the top corporate class, as advocated by the enormously popular social philosopher Herbert Spencer.
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Ward believed that human nature itself was severely torn between self- aggrandizement and benevolence, between emotion and intellect, and between male and female characteristics at their most fundamental level.

The social scientist Ward was more hopeful than Marx and Gumplowicz, and he felt that with the assistance of sociological research, it was possible to build on and modify existing social systems.

Functionalism is defined as “the attempt to ascribe, as rigidly as possible, to each feature, tradition, or practice its influence on the functioning of a purportedly stable, unified system,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Durkheim considered crime to be “a element in public health, and an intrinsic feature of all healthy communities,” according to the author.

Criminal behavior therefore contributes to the growth of morality and law: “it means not only that the path remains open to required modifications, but that in some situations it actually prepares for these changes,” says the author.

While Marx highlighted the significance of ” social structure,” or the capacity of individuals to influence their social connections, Weber emphasized the importance of ” social action,” or the ability of individuals to influence their social relationships.

Modern approaches

C. Wright Mills has been referred to be the “founding father” of contemporary conflict theory. According to Mills, social structures are formed as a result of conflict between individuals who have varying interests and financial means. As a result of these systems and the “unequal distribution of power and resources in society,” individuals and resources are impacted as a result of their actions. A new power elite in American society (i.e., the military–industrial complex) had “formed from the union of the business elite, the Pentagon, and the executive arm of government,” according to the authors.

  • “Increased escalation of violence, manufacture of weapons of mass destruction, and possibly the annihilationof the human species,” he predicted in his theory of the power elite in the world.
  • On the subject of nonviolent struggle, he is best known for his vast publications, which have had an impact on a wide range of anti-government resistance organizations across the world.
  • Sharp’s central thesis is that power is not a monolithic phenomenon; that is, it does not come from some inherent characteristic in individuals who hold positions of authority.
  • Essentially, he believes that every power system is predicated on the subjects’ willingness to comply with the commands of the king or rulers.
  • “The Machiavelli of nonviolence” and the “Clausewitz of peaceful warfare,” respectively, have been attributed to Sharp.
  • Recently, the protest movement that deposed Egyptian PresidentMubarak leaned heavily on Sharp’s ideas, as did the youth movement in Tunisia and earlier movements in the Eastern European color revolutions, which had been inspired by Sharp’s work in the first place.
  • Instead of producing order and consensus, inequality defines societies, and conflict is the driving force behind conflict in a society. There is no way to resolve this conflict based on inequality except through a fundamental transformation of the existing relationships in society, which in turn produces new social relations. The disadvantaged have structural interests that are in opposition to the status quo, which, when assumed, will result in social change. As a result, they are regarded as agents of change rather than as objects for which one should feel pity. In any society with an unequal division of labor, conditions of exploitation and oppression, such as those that exist in the United States, serve to repress human potential (for example, the ability to be creative). Despite the requirements of the so-called ” civilizing process” or ” functional necessity,” these and other characteristics do not necessarily have to be stunted: creativity is actually an engine for economic development and change
  • The role of theory is to assist in realizing human potential and transforming society, rather than to maintain the power structure. Aiming towards the antithesis of theory would be the objectivity and detachment associated withpositivism, where theory serves as an explanatory tool rather than a goal in and of itself. Consensus is just another word for ideology. The more powerful in communities are able to push their views on others and force them to embrace their discourses, rather than achieving genuine consensus. Instead of preserving social order, consensus works to cement stratification, which is a weapon of the current social order
  • The state serves the special interests of those who are most powerful while purporting to represent the interests of everyone. Achieving complete engagement in state operations through the representation of disadvantaged groups may foster the perception of full participation, however this is an illusion/ideology. At the global level, inequality is defined by the deliberate underdevelopment of Third World countries, both during colonization and after national independence. Through economic, political, and military measures, the global system (i.e., development institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) helps the most powerful nations and multinational businesses at the expense of the subjects of development, rather than the reverse.

Instead of producing order and consensus, inequality defines societies, and conflict is the product of inequality. There is no way to resolve this conflict based on inequality except through a fundamental transformation of the existing relationships in society, which in turn produces new social relations. The disadvantaged have structural interests that are in opposition to the status quo, which when assumed will result in social transformation. In this way, they are seen as agents of transformation rather than as objects for which one should feel pity or sympathy In any society with an uneven division of labor, conditions of exploitation and oppression, such as those that exist in the United States, serve to suppress human potential (for example, the ability for creativity).

Consensus is a euphemism for ideology.

Instead of preserving social order, consensus works to cement stratification, which is a weapon of the current social order; the state serves the specific interests of those in power while purporting to represent the interests of all.

At the global level, inequality is defined by the deliberate underdevelopment of Third World countries, both during colonization and following national independence.

Globalization (i.e., the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) is a system that, by means of economic, political, and military measures, favours the most powerful countries and multinational businesses, rather than those who are the objects of development;

  • Despite the fact that human beings are self-interested, societies operate in a state of constant shortage of resources. Conflict is prevalent and inescapable both inside and between social groupings
  • It is also inevitable between social groups.


However, as a reaction to functionalism and thepositivist approach, conflict theory may also be connected with a variety of different viewpoints, such as:

  • Theoretical skepticism
  • The perspective that respects women’s political, social, and economic equality with men is referred to as feminist thought. Postmodern theory is a critical approach to modernism, characterized by a distrust of great ideas and ideologies. Poststructuralist theory
  • Postmodernism Theory of postcoloniality
  • There is a growing collection of study findings that question the heterosexual bias that exists in Western culture, which is known as queer theory. The theory of world systems
  • Approach to race and ethnic conflict: A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic groups
  • Critical realism (philosophy of the social sciences)
  • Existentialism (philosophy of science).


Conflict theory has been accused of being too politicized as a result of its relationship with Marx and the extensive use of the theory by advocates for a wide range of causes and groups. Critics further contend that it downplays the need of unity in society while having a negative view of society as one characterized by disputes, tension, and coercion, among other things.

See also

  • As a result of its relationship with Marx and the broad application of conflict theory by supporters for a wide range of causes and groups, conflict theory has been accused of being too politicized. Critics further claim that it downplays the need of unity in society while portraying society as one riddled with disputes, friction, and pressure.


  1. Martin Malia’s introduction to Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto (New York: Penguin Group, 1998), page 35, cites the following: Isbn: 978-0-451-52710-0
  2. Marx’s Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
  3. John Scott Irving’s Fifty Key Sociologists: The Formative Theorists (2007, pg 59)
  4. And “Communicating Ideas: The Politics of Scholarly Publishing” (Isbn: 978-0-451-52710-0). pg 281
  5. “Outlines of Sociology,” pg 196
  6. “Transforming Leadership,” James MacGregor Burns, 2004, pg 189
  7. “German Realpolitik and American Sociology: An Inquiry Into the Sources and Political Significance of the Sociology of Conflict,” James Alfred Aho, 1975, ch. 6
  8. “Transforming Leadership,” James MacGregor Burns, 2004, pg ‘Lester F. Ward’s Sociology of Conflict’
  9. Bourricaud, F. ‘The Sociology of Talcott Parsons’ Chicago University Press.ISBN0-226-06756-4. p. 94
  10. Durkheim, E. ‘The Sociology of Conflict’ Chicago University Press.ISBN0-226-06756-4. p. 94
  11. Bourricaud, F. ‘The Sociology of Talcott Parsons’ Chicago University Press.ISBN0-226-067 (1938). The Sociological Method: The Rules of the Game p. 67
  12. Durkheim, (1938), pp. 70–81
  13. Livesay, C.Social Inequality: Theories: Weber. Sociology Central. A-Level Sociology Teaching Notes. p. 67
  14. Livesay, C.Social Inequality: Theories: Weber. Sociology Central. A-Level Sociology Teaching Notes. abcKnapp, P. (2010-06-20)
  15. AbcKnapp, P. (2010-06-20)
  16. AbcKnapp, P. (1994). One World – Many Worlds: Contemporary Sociological Theory is a book about contemporary sociological theory (2nd Ed.). 228–246. Harpercollins College Division, Harpercollins. Gene Sharp is the author of the nonviolent revolution handbook, according to the online summary ISBN 978-0-06-501218-7. On the 21st of February, BBC News published an article titled The biography of Gene Sharp may be found on the website of the Albert Einstein Institution. Archived from the original on January 12, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  17. Thomas Weber is the author of this work. In the role of Gandhi, both as disciple and as mentor. Published by Cambridge University Press in Cambridge in 2004 under the title “Shy American Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution.” The New York Times, published on February 16, 2011
  18. Alan Sears is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom (2008) In Theory: A Guide to Theoretical Thinking is a well-written book. Sears, page. 36
  19. University of Toronto Press, pg. 34-6, ISBN1-55111-536-0
  20. North York: Higher Education University of Toronto Press, pg. 34-6, ISBN1-55111-536-0
  21. The conflict theory of Raeann R. Hamon appears in the Encyclopedia of Family Studies (2016): 1-5
  22. Abc J. Macionis and L. Gerber are co-authors of this article (2010). Sociology, 7th edition
  23. Stolley, Kathy S., “The Fundamentals of Sociology,” in press. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005, p.27
  24. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005, p.27


Contrary to popular belief, conflict theory holds that tensions and conflicts occur when resources, status, and power are unequally allocated across groups in society, and that these conflicts serve as the catalyst for social change. In this context, power may be defined as the ability to exert control over material resources and accumulated riches, the ability to exert influence over politics and the institutions that make up society, and the ability to elevate one’s social position in comparison to others (determined not just by class but by race, gender, sexuality,culture, and religion, among other things).

Karl Marx

“A home might be enormous or little; as long as the nearby houses are also small, it meets all of the social requirements for a place to live in the community. However, if a palace is built next to the modest house, the little house will be reduced to the size of a hut.” Wage labor and capital are two types of labor (1847)

Marx’s Conflict Theory

In the writings of Karl Marx, he concentrated on the causes and effects of class warfare between the bourgeoisie (the owners of the means of production and capitalists), as well as between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie (the working class and the poor). Marx’s analysis of the economic, social, and political consequences of the rise of capitalism in Europe was centered on the idea that the existence of a powerful minority class (the bourgeoisie) and an oppressed majority class (the proletariat) resulted in class conflict because the interests of the two classes were at odds and resources were unfairly distributed among them.

Sociologists such as Karl Marx believed that the work of achieving consensus was carried out in society’s “superstructure,” which is made up of social institutions as well as political structures and culture, and that it produced consensus for society’s “base,” namely the economic relations of production.

The cycle of conflict, according to Marx, would be perpetuated if the modifications made to pacify the dispute were to retain a capitalist economic system. But if the adjustments made resulted in the establishment of a new system, such as socialism, then peace and stability would be established.

Evolution of Conflict Theory

Since Marx’s time, a large number of social theorists have built on his conflict theory to strengthen, develop, and perfect it throughout time. The Italian academic and activistAntonio Gramsci claimed that the strength of ideology was more than Marx had understood, and that more effort needed to be done to defeat cultural hegemony, or to govern by common sense, in order for Marx’s notion of revolution to be achieved within his lifetime. Critical thinkers Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, both of whom were members of the Frankfurt School, centered their work on how the emergence of mass culture—mass generated art, music, and media—contributed to the preservation of cultural hegemony in the twentieth century.

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Wright Mills used conflict theory to describe the formation of a small “power elite” comprised of military, economic, and political individuals who have governed America since the mid-twentieth century, a phenomenon known as the “Great Power Transition.” Other forms of theory in the social sciences, such as feminist theories, critical race theories, postmodern and postcolonial theories, queer theory, structural theory, and theories of globalization and world systems, have leaned on conflict theory to build their own perspectives on the world.

As a result, while conflict theory was originally developed to study class conflicts, it has expanded to include studies of other types of conflicts, such as those based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, culture, and nationality, among other factors, that are a part of contemporary social structures and have an impact on our lives.

Applying Conflict Theory

Numerous sociologists are employing conflict theory and its versions in their research nowadays to investigate a wide range of societal problems. Examples include the following:

  • In today’s society, many sociologists employ conflict theory and its versions to investigate a wide range of social issues. For instance, consider the following:

Many sociologists currently employ conflict theory and its versions to investigate a wide range of societal problems. Among the examples are:

Robbers Cave Experiment / Realistic Conflict Theory

Conflict theory and its versions are employed by many sociologists today to investigate a wide range of social problems. Here are several examples:

Key Takeaways: The Robbers Cave Study
  • A total of 22 white, 11-year-old boys participated in the Robbers Cave field experiment, which took place in Robbers Cave State Park, a secluded summer camp in Oklahoma. During the first week of camp, the boys formed strong bonds with their groups as they participated in a variety of activities such as hiking, swimming, and other recreational activities. The Eagles and the Rattlers were the names that the guys picked for their respective organizations. Over the course of a four-day series of matches between the two groups, bias (both physical and verbal) began to emerge between the two groups. During the two-day cooling-off period that followed, the boys made a list of the differences and similarities between the two groups. In general, the boys tended to portray their own in-group in extremely positive terms, while characterizing the other out-group in very negative terms
  • Sherif then aimed to lessen the bias, or inter-group conflict, displayed by each group. However, just increasing the amount of communication between the two groups exacerbated the issue
  • Instead, Alternatively, requiring the groups to collaborate in order to achieve common objectives reduced bias and friction between the groups. That is, the results of this experiment verified Sherif’s realistic conflict theory (also known as realistic group conflict theory), which asserted that group conflict might arise as a result of resource rivalry.

A total of 22 white, 11-year-old boys were transported to Robbers Cave State Park, an unique distant summer camp in Oklahoma, as part of the Robbers Cave field experiment. While participating in various activities with their groups such as hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities during the first week of camp, the boys built a strong bond to their groups. The Eagles and the Rattlers were the names that the guys gave to their respective organizations. In the course of a four-day series of matches between the two groups, bias (both physical and verbal) began to emerge between the two groups.

In general, the boys tended to portray their own in-group in extremely positive terms, while characterizing the other out-group in very negative terms; Sherif then aimed to lessen the bias, or inter-group conflict, that each group displayed.

When the groups were forced to work together to achieve common goals, prejudice and tension between the groups were alleviated; This experiment supported Sherif’s realistic conflict theory (also known as realistic group conflict theory), which holds that group conflict can arise as a result of resource rivalry.

  1. Bringing individuals who are unfamiliar with one another together to participate in group activities in order to achieve similar goals would result in the formation of a group structure with hierarchical statuses and responsibilities within it. As a result of the competition and group frustration that arise when two in-groups are brought into functional relationship under the conditions of competition and group frustration, attitudes toward the out-group and its members will emerge
  2. These attitudes and appropriate hostile actions will be standardised and shared to varying degrees by group members.

Overview of the Study

The field experiment took place in Robber’s Cave State Park in Oklahoma, America, and featured two groups of twelve-year-old boys. The twenty-two boys who participated in the research were all from white middle-class families and were completely unfamiliar with one another. It was clear that they all came from a Protestant, two-parent family. The boys were divided into two groups by the researchers at random, with attempts taken to ensure that the groups were balanced in terms of physical, mental, and social capabilities.

Afterwards, they were picked up by bus on successive days over the summer of 1954 and transferred to a Boy Scouts of America camp in the Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma, which was 200 acres in size (with researchers doubling as counsellors).

Phase 1: In-group Formation (5-6 Days)

As the members of each group became more acquainted with one another, social norms began to evolve, and leadership and group structure began to emerge. At the camp, the groups were kept apart from one another and were encouraged to form bonds as two distinct groups while they worked together to achieve similar objectives that necessitated cooperative conversation, planning, and execution of tasks. During this first phase, none of the groups was aware of the presence of the other group. Throughout the first week of camp, the boys built a strong commitment to their groups, quickly creating their own cultures and group norms via participation in a variety of activities such as hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.

Phase 2: Group Conflict (4-5 Days)

The newly created groups came into touch with one another, engaging in games and challenges, and vying for control of the available land. Sherif then set up the ‘competition stage,’ during which tension between the groups would arise over the course of the following 4-6 days. It was anticipated that during this phase, the two groups would be forced into competition with one another under conditions that would cause irritation amongst them. A number of competitive events (such as baseball, tug-of-war, and so on) were organized, with a trophy being handed to the winning team based on their cumulative score.

  • They spent the day discussing about the competitions and making modifications to the ball field, which they had taken over as their own to the point that they discussed placing a “Keep Off” sign on it!
  • Several Rattlers made menacing statements about what they would do if anyone from The Eagles came close to their flag at this point.
  • A picnic may be postponed because one party was late getting there, and when they came, the other group had finished their meal.
  • As the tournament progressed, this emotion became more direct in its delivery.
  • The Rattlers then trashed The Eagle’s cabin the next day, overturning beds and stealing private goods in the process.
  • During the two-day cooling-off period that followed, the boys made a list of the differences and similarities between the two groups.
  • You should keep in mind that the youngsters who took part in this study were not members of a street gang, but rather were well-adjusted boys.

This study clearly demonstrates that friction between groups can result in prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory conduct on the part of both sides. It was discovered through this experiment that Sherif’s realistic conflict hypothesis was correct.

Phase 3: Conflict Resolution (6-7 Days)

Sherif and his colleagues explored a variety of approaches to alleviate the hatred and low-level violence that existed between the two groups. The Robbers Cave tests demonstrated that superordinate objectives (goals that are so vast that they require the cooperation of more than one group to attain the goal) considerably decreased conflict more successfully than other tactics (e.g., communication, contact). Even a number of impromptu possibilities for reconciliation (such as a bean-collecting contest, the screening of a film, or the lighting of fireworks to honor the Fourth of July) failed to result in a significant reduction in tensions between the Eagles and the Rattlers.

  1. A variety of scenarios were introduced, each providing superordinate aims that could not be readily disregarded by members of the two hostile factions, but whose achievement would be beyond the means and efforts of each group alone.
  2. What Is the Drinking Water Crisis?
  3. It was their water supply that had unexpectedly stopped flowing.
  4. The water supply had been disrupted, and the Camp personnel attributed the failure to “vandals.” Following separate checks of the vast water lines by the Eagles and the Rattlers, they discovered that one outlet faucet had a sack put into it, which they immediately reported to the authorities.
  5. Ideas for effective ways to unblock the impediment were put up by members of both parties all at the same time, resulting in a joint effort to clear the obstruction itself from the ground up.
  6. When the water finally turned on, there was a collective sigh of relief.
  7. There were no objections or “Ladies first” type statements voiced at all!
  8. Two films had been selected in conjunction with children’s cinema specialists and had been delivered to the camp along with other stimuli materials to be used as part of the program.

Several Rattlers gathered around the table and declared, “Everyone who wants Treasure Island raise your hands.” While some members of both groups voiced reservations about the choice of “Treasure Island,” the vast majority of participants in both groups expressed enthusiastic acceptance of the film.

After much deliberation, it was decided that both groups would each pay $3.50, with the remainder being covered by the camp.

There were no objections to everyone eating together for supper that night.

A number of other problem-solving superordinate goals were added at this phase, including the combined usage of a tug-of-war rope and both groups of boys “accidentally” coming upon a vehicle that was stopped in a rut and transporting food for both groups.

The seating arrangements at breakfast and lunch on the final day of camp were quite disjointed in terms of group membership, and this was especially noticeable at breakfast and lunch.

Critical Evaluation

People all across the world have experienced conflicts similar to those that occurred in Robbers Cave in the early 1900s. The most straightforward explanation for this conflict is that it is a result of competitiveness. Affecting outsiders to groups, putting the groups into rivalry, stirring the pot, and soon there will be trouble in paradise. Several studies have found that when individuals fight for scarce resources (such as employment, land, and other natural resources), there is an increase in antagonism between different groups.

  • Because the study was conducted as a field experiment, it has a high level of ecological validity.
  • Because the two groups of boys in the research were created artificially, as was the competition, the results did not necessarily represent real-life situations in the field.
  • Ethical considerations must also be taken into account.
  • Furthermore, subjects were not shielded from physical and psychological pain during the experiment.

APA Style References

M. Sherif is the author of this work (1954). The robbers cave research was an experimental investigation on positive and negative intergroup attitudes between artificially formed groups. The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman, Oklahoma. M. Sherif is the author of this work (1956). Experiments with group conflict are conducted. Scientific American, vol. 195, no. 5, pp. 54-59. M. Sherif is the author of this work (1958). In the elimination of intergroup conflict, it is important to have superordinate aims.

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How to reference this article:

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