Conflict theory is defined in our book as “a label that applies to any of a number of theroies that assume society is in a constant state of social conflict with only temporary stable periods and social phenomenia that are a result of conflict.”(“Tischer”).To me and easier way to explain it would be the people with money and power control everything including housing, money, jobs and education to name a few. The conflict is when the people who feel as if they are being taken “advantage of” fight back against the powerful. Causing a conflict between the two groups of people. There have been several conflicts noted throughout our history, The Cold War was between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union wanted to spread communism worldwide. (Cold War) This caused a conflict with the US and the democratic beliefs we share. Another conflict was the right for gay people to marry, the conflict between religious freedom and equal rights. (“Cameron”) This has been an ongoing for many years now. The Civil War was a war between the north and the south about state rights.
This is just a few things that I can think of that has been caused by conflict in the US. There are two main theorists, with the conflict theory; they are Karl Marx and Max Weber. Marx believed “that there are two basic groups of people within society – the wealthy and the poor.” (“Marx”) “Marx’s conflict theory seeks to study the inner-workings of struggle, why struggle occurs, and how the ruling class manages to hold onto their power during struggle.” (“Marx’s”) Virtually this means that the wealthy wanted to maintain their power with wealth, and the “working class” was to remain working never to better them. Marx’s also created a system he called Marxism.
This is a revolutionary movement that argued that all events in history are caused by economic forces. Marx believed that capitalism would produce internal tension which in return would lead to destruction.(“Zarka”) Marxism is a type of capitalism which is defined as “an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit.”(“What is Marxism”) a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies.” (“What is Marxism”)
The socialist slogan and the communist slogan did not differ in meaning only in wording: Socialist: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The communist slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”(What is Marxism”) And what this is stating is you are only worth, your ability to work. To me it sounds a lot like a type of dictatorship of the wealthy. While the rich stay rick and the poor stay poor. Max Weber believed there were many social groups aside from the capitalist and the working group.” Where Marx believed that social class is the most basic division in any society, Max Weber saw conflict as having many possible bases–including social class, but also religion, race, ethnicity, and more.”(“Theories”)
Although Marx’s and Weber agreed on several issues in the conflict theory, “Weber attempted to clarify, criticize, and modify Marx’s work.” (“Tischer”) “Weber focused more on the individual meanings people attach to the world around them.”(“Tischer”) Weber also believed that conflict has multiple possibilities including, but not limited to, religion, ethnicity, social class, and economic. So I would say that even though these two men agreed on most of their ideals about the conflict theory, Weber focused more on different aspects other that just social class. He was in agreement that the ones with the money and power want to keep the money and power.
In conclusion I would say that Marx’s and Weber were known as two of the “Founding Fathers of Sociology” (“Founding”) because of their extensive research in this conflict theory. We all know that there is conflict everywhere in our everyday life; we have all been faced with conflict one time or another. This has been proven time and time again with the multiple wars that the US has been a part of, fighting for our freedom and democracy. But it also is found in our general government with the “War on drugs” that we face every day. And the current war we are fighting, the “War on Terror”. Marx’s and Weber were two of the main contributors to the conflict theory and several has followed their leadership with this theory.
Cameron, Scott. “Gay Marriage: Conflict between Equal Rights and Religious
Freedom?” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. Marx Conflict Theory.” Conflict Theory Com RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. “Cold War.” 1945-1960. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
“American Civil War.” Expansion and States’ Rights -. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. Zarka, Heather. “Karl Marx and Max Weber: Fathers of Sociological Theories.” (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. <http://voices.yahoo.com/shared/print.shtml?content_type=article&content_type_id=267349>. “What Is Marxism.” AllAboutPhilosophy.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. “Theories of Deviance: Conflict Theories.” Theories of Deviance: Conflict Theories. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. “Founding Fathers of Sociology.” – College Essay. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012