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Conflict theories and models

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  1. Introduction
  2. Structural functional or consensus theorists
  3. The consensus perspective
  4. Ralf Dahrendorf
  5. Social relations
  6. Four basic needs
  7. The post-industrial society
  8. Criticism against Dahrendorf's theory
  9. Conclusion
  10. References

There is a fundamental difference in the way consensus and conflict theorists view the very nature of modern society and societal relations, such as class relations, the role of conflict for change and the distribution of power. Generally, the world used the structural functionalist or consensus model to look at the way society functioned. Conflict perspective theorists such as Ralf Dahrendorf have critiqued the consensus theorist's view of society and social organizations.

[...] These shared values maintain the equilibrium of the system while the conflict model has a different theory on organizations. It believes all organizations are based on structural inequalities. This is usually seen with political power or economic wealth. Those in power maintain social order through coercion or dominance. When social conflict does arise, it will bring social change. (Turner, 1991). Social relations are analyzed by Dahrendorf with the belief that in all social systems there is a difference between those in a position of power or authority and those without it. [...]

[...] The Marxist's believe Dahrendorf does not show that conflict is inherently built within structures, or how material interests are the cause for superordinate and subordinate groups to be divided over. A structural functionalist may argue that hierarchical structures are in place in most systems and a common goal can still be shared without material interests involved and the conflict may occur due to a difference of values. (Turner, 1991). Dahrendorf's theory that we have entered a post-capitalist society with economics and politics tends to bring criticism as well. [...]

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