Social Conflict Theory

  • Framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change
  • Perspective that emphasizes conflict, opposition and change within society including its causes and consequences
  • Perspective that focuses on how some social patterns benefit some people while hurting others
  • Examples:
    • education not equal for all in US society
      • Privileged families get the best education for their childrenbetter colleges better paying jobs
  • Karl Marx – saw conflict between proletariat (workers) and bourgeosie (owners of land and factories) would lead to social change
  • Types of conflict analysis
    • Feminism and gender conflict
    • A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between men and women
  • Race-conflict approach
    • A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories
  • Example- Conflict theory asks these kinds of question about prostitution:
    • What are the costs of prostitution to society?
    • Why are prostitutes considered “outcastes”?
    • Who benefits from prostitution?
    • Why are prostitutes more likely to arrested than are the clients?
    How can changes be brought about?