What are the Original Principles and Basic Assumptions of Conflict Theory ?

What are the Original Principles and Basic Assumptions of Conflict Theory ?

As said by Karl Marx,

“At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or—this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms—with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.”

Karl Marx

Conflict theory was given by Karl Marx. It focuses on social inequality which causes conflict in society. This theory views society in constant conflict due to differences in powers and resources among different groups which leads to social inequality. Conflict theory states that conflict in a society is inevitable but it ultimately leads to revolution. There exists disagreements in society due to limitation of resources between the more powerful who exploit the resources and the less powerful who are exploited. This as a result creates conflict between the two parties. It looks at life as a continuous struggle between different groups.

Principles of Conflict Theory

  • i). It believes in class struggle between the elite class and working class where the former rule the latter in society.
  • ii). It focuses on class inequality and acceptance of hierarchy. 
  • iii). Believe that conflict would ultimately lead to revolution and development of society. 
  • iv). Look at the aspect of exploitation and oppression.
  • v). Gives an understanding about how power impacts people’s lives.
  • vi). It looks at the outcome of capitalism on labor, productivity, and economic development.
  • vii). Understand what leads to social inequality among different groups. 
  • viii). It enables groups and individuals to protect their interests. 

Basic Assumptions of Conflict Theory 

Revolution

Class struggle would create conflict and ultimately lead to revolution. The theory states that conflict in a society is inevitable as arguments happen due to uneven distribution of resources between the more powerful who exploit the resources and the less powerful who are exploited. This conflict will however lead to the necessary social change and development of society. 

Structural Inequality

Inequality occurs as some people have more power and are placed at a higher position or status than others in society. When society benefits only some individuals at the cost of others it is called structural inequality. When some have more power, resources, and wealth than others, it leads to structural inequality. 

Competition

There exists competition in society for the fight of power, resources, wealth, land, property, etc. Conflict occurs in society as a result of competition for these desires.