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Use of the Conflict Theory Essay Sample

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Use of the Conflict Theory Essay Sample

Conflict Theory looks at what can happen, when one group or institution revolts against another and the leaders that make the rules and/or laws. This theory touches on many different areas of life, such as, race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. Conflict theory is the wealthy versus the poor in most situations. It’s the haves and the have not’s. For equality to exist there needs to be some level of conflict. For equality to exist, everyone needs to have their opinions heard. One cannot always follow along. We are not all the same, humans are very diverse. We all come in different races, nationalities, shapes, and sizes. One must take into consideration that people have different levels of intelligence and experience. “Karl Marx (1818–1883) argued that it is tension and conflict that motivate us to think and act differently. Conflict theory assumes that the institutions and interactions within society foster inequality and competition, and when they are challenged, then beneficial social change can result” (Vissing, 2011). When conflict is used many different ideas are born and the possibility of a better solution may present itself. One could look on the conflict theory as a negotiation.

Conflict theory is about what is fair and just, whereas, life is about how much you have along with other elements, such as, race, gender, and nationalities etc. One example of inequality and conflict could be a waiter or waitress that is paid below minimum wage and the patrons of the restaurant are expected to leave a generous tip. It is like the employees are self-employed, and the patron has not only paid a big amount for their meal, they now have to pay extra for the employee’s work to make up for the lack of wages, and the owner is getting away with cheap labor and collecting on the profits. If enough people would speak out against this and force the owner to pay for his own labor, at the very least minimum wage, this would be more just to the employees and the patrons who have already paid for the service. It would seem that the wealthy consistently uses their power to oppress the poor.

The inequality to African-Americans is well known, and through conflict, sometime deadly conflict, they have come a long way. “With the end of World War II, racial discrimination throughout the United States was challenged by African-American veterans returning to a society unwilling to reward them justly for their military service. A deepening since of injustice was shaping a monumental grievance among blacks and sympathetic whites, a grievance soon to be transformed into overt conflict action in what is commonly known as the Civil Rights Movement” (Bartos, O., Wehr, P., 2002). The African-Americans staged protest, for example, sit-ins where they would sit in a restricted area to draw attention, marches which consisted of African-American people marching up to local areas and giving out relevant information to persuade people to act in civil disobedience, boycotts which led to laws being changed. The actions of police and other authorities increased tension during the civil rights movement by resorting to physical violence to force them into submission. If these brave people had not spoken up they would not be where they are today.

We could say that we owe our freedom to the conflict theory. In the last half of the 18th century, the 13 colonies banded together to break away from the British. “The American colonists had become increasingly angered at their homeland over a period of many decades. The colonists became especially alarmed at British taxation programs, not only because they greatly hampered colonial economies, but also because they believed the acts of Parliament were consistently violating their rights as British citizens” (Revolutionary War and Beyond, 2003-2013). The conflict theory introduces the idea of speaking out and speaking up for ones- self. The British were more established and had more money.

This again, shows the wealthy vs. the poor, in that the British, who were wealthy, tried to keep control over the Americans, who were poor. The people of the colonies entered into a conflict that turned into a full scale war, which eventually led to our freedom. In conclusion, one can see where conflict theory can have its good points and it’s bad. When people speaking up and make others listen to their opinions this can lead to making changes in a bad situation, whether, it’s in the workplace or a family etc. Furthermore, inequality can be address and tackled to bring about equality, in race, gender, ethnicity or religion, hopefully in all situations one day. We can see where just meekly following along with “the program” is not always the best choice. Along with conflict, violence and even death may occur, when those in control do not want to relinquish their hold over others, riots and even war can breakout. Each person has to decide if the cause is worth the fight.


Bartos, O., Wehr, P. (06/2002). Using Conflict Theory. (ch. 4. P.52 para.4) Cambridge University Press. Port Chester, NY, USA. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/lib/ashford/docDetail.action?docID=10022050&p00=conflict%20theory Vissing, Y. (2011). SOC 101: An Introduction to Sociology (Kindle Locations 174-176). Bridgepoint Education Inc. Revolutionary War and Beyond. (2003-2013). Revolutionary War Causes. Retrieved from http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/revolutionary-war-causes.html

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