PROSPECTIVE THEORY OF CONFLICTS
Theory of conflicts, has always been a subject related to two
Without the two parties, is impossible a conflict.
Human nature is by birth bound to do whatever every individual think is good for him, or what surrounds him.
After trying the fruit of knowledge, human´s nature became illegal, because since then, questions the order of reality around man. This need of progres, is the engine that moves the world.
The difference between human beings and animals, is that human beings question the order of the world ; while animals will always continue doing their duty in its group, whatever happens.
Knowledge is the main characteristic of man. Knowledge may be obtained within or without the established order ; society.
-2-Creation of rules.
Humane being only creates rules when there is no other option.
That´s why they are for. They create rules, and immediately disobey these
rules. It is in human nature, because they continuously question order of the
The individual is a world in itself.
II-SOURCES OF HEALTH
The sources of health are determined by a duality ; between
conflict and cooperation ; such as :
-a-Conflict between parties-Karl Marx, claimed that growth and
development occur through the Conflict between opposing parties.
-b-Cooperation-Cooperation is also a source of healthy growth. It needs to be determined under which situations, if any, conflict is necessary to produce change, as compared to those under which cooperation and harmony lead to the greatest advances.
-1-Maximization of benefits.
In sociology, conflict theory states that society or an organization
functions so that each individual participant and its groups struggle to maximize
their benefits, which inevitably contributes to social change such as political
changes and revolutions.
The theory is mostly applied to explain conflict between social classes, proletariat versus bourgeoisie; and in ideologies, such as capitalism versus socialism.
-2-Conflicts between groups of people.
While conflict theory successfully describes instances where conflict occurs between groups of people, for a variety of reasons, it is questionable whether this represents the ideal human society.
IV-CONFLICT THEORY IN THE
-1-Obligational subjects .
The history of conflict theory can be traced back to thinkers such as Machiavelli or Thomas Hobbes, both of whom viewed humanity cynically. In its current form ; conflict theory attempts to refute the functionalist approach, which considers that societies and organizations function so that each individual and group plays a specific role, like organs in the body. There are radical basic assumptions (society is eternally in conflict, which might explain social change), or moderate ones (custom and conflict are always mixed). The moderate version allows for functionalism to operate as an equally acceptable theory since it would accept that even negative social institutions play a part in society's self-perpetuation.
The essence of conflict theory is best epitomized by the classic "pyramid structure" in which an elite dictates terms to the larger masses. All major social structures, laws, and traditions in the society are designed to support those who have traditionally been in power, or the groups that are perceived to be wealthier in the society according to this theory. Conflict theorists would argue that all groups in society are born from conflict. An example might be that of labor unions, which are developed to fight for the interests of workers, whereas trade organizations are made to fight for the interests of the moneyed classes. This theory of groups is opposed to functionalism in which each of these groups would play a specific, set role in society. In functionalism, these groups cooperate to benefit society whereas in conflict theory the groups are in opposition to one another as they seek to better their masters.
"It is in the interests of those who have wealth to keep
and extend what they own, whereas it is in the interests of those who have little
or no wealth to try to improve their lot in life."
This can also be expanded to include any society's morality, and by extension their definition of deviance. Anything that could challenge the control of the elite will likely be considered "deviant" or "morally reprehensible." The theory can be applied on both the macro level (like the U.S. government or Soviet Russia, historically) or the micro level (a church organization or school club). In summary, conflict theory seeks to catalog the ways in which those in power seek to stay in power.
-b-Primary assumptions of modern conflict theory.
In understanding conflict theory, competition between social classes plays a key part. The following are four primary assumptions of modern conflict theory :
-b1-Competition-Competition over scarce resources (money, leisure, sexual partners, and so on) is at the heart of all social relationships. Competition rather than consensus is characteristic of human relationships.
-b2-Structural inequality-Inequalities in power and reward are built into all social structures. Individuals and groups that benefit from any particular structure strive to see it maintained.
-b3-Revolution-Change occurs as a result of conflict between social class's competing interests rather than through adaptation. It is often abrupt and revolutionary rather than evolutionary.
-b4-War-Even war is a unifier of the societies involved, as
well as war may set an end to whole societies.
-2-Family subjects .
-a-Conflict over limited resources.
Conflict theory has been used by feminists to explain the position of women in society. Feminist conflict theorists argue that women have traditionally been oppressed so that men can benefit from positions of power, wealth, and status. These theorists would argue that the conflict over limited natural resources is what led men to relegate women to domesticity.
-b-Men cannot be trusted.
This interpretation of conflict theory also leads to the idea that men cannot be trusted to give power to women because this gift would conflict with their inherent nature.
V-CONFLICT THEORY IN THE CRIMINAL AREA
-1-Definition of crime.
Crime as a legal definition of human conduct is created by agents
of the system in a politically organized society.
The essential starting point is a definition of crime that itself is based on the legal definition. Crime, as officially determined, is a definitionof behavior that is conferred on some people by those in power.
Agents of the law (such as legislators, police, prosecutors,
and judges) are responsible for formulating and administering criminal law.
Upon formulationand application of these definitions of crime, persons and behaviors
Crime, according to this first proposition, is not inherent
in behavior, but is a judgment made by some about the actions and characteristics
of others. This proposition allows us to focus on the formulation and administration
of the criminal law as it applies to the behaviors that become defined as criminal.
Crime is seen as a result of the class-dynamic process that
culminate in defining persons and behaviors as criminal.
It follows, then, that the greater the number of definitions of crime that are formulated and applied, the greater the amount of crime.
-2-Behaviours to be punished.
Definitions of crime are composed of behaviors that conflict
with the interests of the system.
Definitions of crime are formulated according to the interests
of those who have the power to translate their interests into public policy.
Those definitions are ultimately incorporated into the criminal
law. Furthermore, definitions of crime in a society change as the interests
of the dominant class change. In other words, those who are able to have their
interests represented in public policy regulate the formulation of definitions
The powerful interests are reflected not only in the definitions
of crimeand the kinds of penal sanctions attached to them, but also in the legal
policieson handling those defined as criminals.
Procedural rules are created for enforcing and administering
the criminal law. Policies are also established on programs for treating and
punishing the criminally defined and programs for controlling and preventing
From the initial definitions of crime to the subsequent procedures,
correctional and penal programs, and policies for con-trolling and preventing
crime, those who have the power regulate the behavior of those without power.
Behavior patterns are structured in relation to definitions
of crime, and within this context people engage in actions that have relative
probabilities of being defined as criminal.
Although behavior varies, all behaviors are similar in that
they represent patterns within society. All persons ; whether they create definitions
of crime or are the objects of these definitions ; act in reference to normative
systems learned in relative social and cultural settings. Because it is not
the quality of the behavior but the action taken against the behavior that gives
it the character of criminality, that which is defined as criminal is relative
to the behavior patterns of the class that formulates and applies definitions.
Consequently, people whose behavior patterns are not represented
when the definitions of crime are formulated and applied are more likely to
act in ways that will be defined as criminal than those who formulate and apply
Once behavior patterns become established with some regularity
within the segments of society, individuals have a framework for creating personal
These continually develop for each person as he moves from one
experience to another. Specific action patterns give behavior an individual
substance in relation to the definitions of crime.
People construct their own patterns of action in participating
It follows, then, that the probability that persons will develop action patterns with a high potential for being defined as criminal depends on :
-c-Interpersonal associations and identifications.
Throughout the experiences, each person creates a conception of self as a human social being. Thus prepared, he behaves according to the anticipated consequences of his actions.
In the experiences shared by the definers of crime and the criminally defined, personal-action patterns develop among the latter because they are so defined.
After they have had continued experience in being defined as
criminal, they learn to manipulate the application of criminal definitions.
Furthermore, those who have been defined as criminal begin to
conceive of themselves as criminal. As they adjust to the definitions imposed
on them, they learn to play the criminal role.
As a result of others' reactions, therefore, people may develop
personal-action patterns that increase the likelihood of their being defined
as criminal in the future. That is, increased experience with definitions of
crime increases the probability of their developing actions that may be subsequently
defined as criminal.
Thus, both the definers of crime and the criminally defined are involved in reciprocal action patterns. The personal-action patterns of both the definers and the defined are shaped by their common, continued, and related experi- ences. The fate of each is bound to that of the other.
VI-CONFLICT THEORY IN THE LABOUR AREA
-1-A-Owners of property.
Karl Marx argued that property is upheld by the state, making property struggles into political struggles between owners and renters, capitalists and workers, and other groups. Material conditions determine the ability of any of these groups to organize effectively politically. These material conditions are also what enable one group to propagate their views to others in society. Because the owners clearly have an advantage in material wealth, their views are spread more easily.
For Marx, the conflict clearly arises because all things of value to man result from human labor. According to Marx, capitalists exploit workers for their labor and do not share the fruits of these labors equally. This exploitation is what allows the owning classes to dominate politically and to impose their ideology on the workers of the world.
-2-A-Struggle between owners and workers.
Max Weber refined Marx's conflict theory. Weber stated that more than one conflict over property existed at any given moment in any given society, which is more nuanced than Marx's theory that the only struggle of importance was that between owners and workers. Weber included an emotional aspect of conflict as well, by saying :
"It is these that underlie the power of religion and make it an important ally of the state; that transform classes into status groups, and do the same to territorial communities under particular circumstances (ethnicity); and that make "legitimacy" a crucial focus for efforts at domination".
-2-B-Interaction creates solidarity.
Weber's conclusions on conflict theory are similar to those
reached by thinkers such as Emile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, and Nietzsche, namely
that beyond emotionality, some particular forms of social interaction create
strongly held beliefs and solidarity among members of groups.