The conflict perspective was most famously proposed by Karl Marx in the mid-1800s. Marx, whose many teachings stressed the dynamic tension between the classes, believed that conflict defined the happenings of society. He believed that this conflict would determine the major events and outcomes of history. His conflict perspective believed that the split between the divisions of labor resulted in conflict between the masses and drove the social changes of the time.
In sociology, conflict analysis interprets social behavior through the perspective that social behavior is best explained and understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups. Therefore, conflict theorists tend to see the educational system as a tool of society (in particular, the elite classes within society that have the most power) that socializes individuals to stay within their classes. Conflict theorists emphasize the disintegrative aspects of education in opposition to the fundamentalists who emphasize the unifying potential of education. Rather than viewing educational systems as benign institutions, therefore, conflict analysis views them as institutions whose purpose is to maintain the domination of the elite classes within society. To do this, school systems subtly teach subordinate groups that they are inferior, reinforcing existing class inequality within the social stratification, and discouraging alternative societal paradigms. From the conflict perspective, educational systems are tools that socialize students to accept the values that are dictated by the more powerful classes within society. Concomitantly, conflict theorists posit that educational systems emphasize maintaining order over encouraging individualism and creativity. As a result, they contend, the norms, values and common structure of society tend to remain the same with little significant growth or change.
The History Of The Conflict Perspective Sociology Essay
A thorough Analysis, A Compare and Contrast of the Three Sociological Perspectives: Functionalist, Conflict, and Interactionist. As discussed above these that the approach to study the sociology is perspective. "The functionalist perspective is a sociological approach which emphasizes the way that parts of a society are structure to maintain its stability,"16 This perspective looks at a society in a positive manner and sees it as stable, with all the parts working together. Under the functionalist view every social aspect of a society contributes to the society's survival, and if not, the aspect is not passed to the next generation. "The conflict perspective is a sociological approach which assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between different groups". In contrast to the functionalist view of stability, conflict sociologist sees a society as being in constant struggle. The idea of conflict is not necessarily violent; it could just refer to disagreements that are worked out through a mediator17. The two main contributors to the formation of the conflict perspective are Karl Marx and W. E. B. Du Bois. Karl Marx explained that conflicts between classes of society are inevitable, since workers will always be exploited as a result of capitalism. It is through the expansion of Marx's work that sociologist now apply conflict theory to all aspects of society. Even though there are parallels between Marxist theories and conflict perspective they are not the same. An important aspect of conflict perspective is that it encourages sociologists to look at a society through the eyes of those in the population who does not influence decision making18. Du Bois contributed to the conflict perspective by studying society in reference to blacks and their struggles within society. "The interactionist perspective is a sociological approach which generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction19,” Interactionist perspective focuses on the way that small groups act, in order to understand society as a whole. Interactionist study people in their everyday behavior and how they react to their surroundings. Such surroundings may include material things, actions, other people, and symbols. George Herbert Mead is most often credited with founding the interactionist perspective, but Charles Horton Cooley also shared Mead's views. Mead was a professor at the University of Chicago, and he focused on the analysis of one-to-one situations and other small groups. He paid particular attention to body language such as a frown or nod, and he also asked the questions of how other group members affected these gestures20.