What Is The Conflict Theory Of Social Change?

By Antonia Čirjak on June 2 2020 in Society

The social conflict theory was first proposed by the German philosopher Karl Marx.
The social conflict theory was first proposed by the German philosopher Karl Marx.
  • According to Marx, people use conflict to gain more resources which can either be money or power.
  • Karl Marx believed that the conflict between different classes was the main driving force behind every important event in human history.
  • Money is often considered the main driving force behind the majority of conflicts in this age.

The social conflict theory was first proposed by the German philosopher Karl Marx. Basically, it says that all social change happens because of conflict. That is the gist of it, but we should explore it further because it is a subject that has remained interesting to this day.

A more detailed explanation of the social conflict theory would be that it states how different groups and individuals in society interact more through conflict than consensus. These groups are most often social classes. The main subject of all of Karl Marx's theories have been social classes, so this comes as no surprise. Throughout this theory, he goes into more detail on how he believes that conflict is the driving force behind everything that happens within society.

The Battle For Resources

Marx claims that people use conflict to gain more resources. These resources can either be material (money) or non-material (power). The easiest example would be the conflict between the rich and the poor. Throughout various examples of this conflict in human history, many important changes were made. Some of these changes were for the better, while others were for the worse, but the conflict was the main driving force behind them.

The conflicts that drive social changes are mostly manifested through the usage of power by powerful groups in society. They use their power to exploit less powerful groups. The main goal of using the power is to retain it, which creates sort of a closed circle. 

The social conflict theory sees conflict as the main engine of change in society. The theorists of social conflict believe that conflict creates contradictions which often get resolved. However, this can lead to new conflicts and contradictions. This creates a constant ongoing dialectic between the two. Naturally, Karl Marx believed that the conflict between different classes was the main driving force behind every important event in human history. According to him, history itself is the result of conflict.

The Class Struggles

The conflict between classes evolved throughout the ages. It always corresponds to the time when it is happening. There is a large difference between social conflicts nowadays and those that were happening in the 19th century, for example. While people from lower classes were openly oppressed in the past, and would often rally up and revolt against the upper classes, it is different today. The class conflicts of today are much more subtle, but they still exist. One does not need to look hard to find examples of people in middle or lower classes having fewer rights and less power than those in the upper classes.

The main reason why these conflicts between classes have changed over time is the means that the society uses to meet its material needs. Nowadays, the most important means for all material needs is money, which is why money is often considered the main driving force behind the majority of conflicts in this age. It is a complete subject that often causes controversy, but it is also something that is worth exploring and thinking about. We are living in a class-based society, and conflict is all around us. Conflict does not need to include violence or weapons, it can be much more subdued, but it is often used in order to control the lower classes in society.

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