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Social Conflict Theory

Essay by 24  •  July 7, 2010  •  1,278 Words (6 Pages)  •  5,670 Views

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The social conflict paradigm is a theory based on society being a complex system characterized by inequality and conflict that generate social change. Personal life experiences dictate me to believe this theory is true. Social conflict can be seen all over the world we live in: in sports, politics and normal social engagements. Karl Marx studied social conflict his entire life and wanted to reduce social inequality. The social conflict theory can be described as favoritism. Society tends to show favoritism to the prestigious members of that particular society. Social inequality is shown throughout the world from situations of race, ethnicity, gender, age or economic status.

Marx's belief that the government in some respects contributes to the suppression of the people has grounds for validation even in today's modern times. The primary goal of Social Conflict is to examine the relationship between the ruling class and the process by which deviance is defined and controlled in capitalist society. The government creates laws and rules to maintain the power and position for the power elite. Government complicity in the growth of Wal-Mart has been seen in the United State's government's creation of legislation that allows huge corporations like Wal-Mart to retain millions of dollars in tax savings through the creation of liberal capital gains tax laws. Whether this is a conspiracy among the wealthy to continue lining their pockets or a sincere effort on the part of the government to provide employment for the common worker is debatable depending on the viewpoint of the individual, but a strong case can be made for Marx's downtrodden working class that he wrote about so prolifically. With gross annual sales of over $67 billion and more than 2,000 stores, Wal-Mart is one of the biggest corporations in the United States. Great place where we can theoretically buy everything under the same roof, and even though goods seem cheaper, which actually is an illusion, the whole paradigm can end up being very expensive. To buy today at Wal-Mart may mean losing one's own job or contributing to the loss of somebody else's in your family or community sometime down the line. Wal-Mart opens a new store once every two days in small communities and cities across the United States, however, are these stores good for these communities, or are they wrecking havoc? When you look down at the fine print Wal-Mart doesn't earn its money it steals it money from other businesses. Choking other smaller businesses by offering wider variety of products at a more competitive price. This is actually a very simple business tactic if you want to sell a lot of something cut your profit margin to beat the other competitors and you will sell more.

Wal-Mart's policy of low prices is maintained while there are other places to shop in the same community. When the other shops go under, not able to compete, nothing prevents Wal-Mart from raising their prices, which the company invariably ends up doing. Wal-Mart has had a devastating influence in those communities where it showed up, and according to Wal-Mart Watch, an organization of citizens affected by the company's policies, for every two jobs that are created when it moves into a community, three are lost.

The Structural Functional Perspective is a theory based on the assumption that society is a complex system made up of many different parts that all work together to promote a stable environment. All of the different aspects of society have functions, and the more functional something is in relation to society, the more important it is in keeping the order of things. Each society has certain needs in that there are a number of activities that must be carried out for social life to survive and develop. Goods and services must be produced and distributed in order for people to survive, there must be some administration of justice, a political system must exist, and some family structure must operate so as to provide a means to reproduce the population and maintain social life on a daily basis. In the structural functional model, individuals carry out each of these tasks in various institutions and roles that are consistent with the structures and norms of the society. Functionalist analysis looks on social systems as having certain needs, and society as a system of social structures (economic, legal, educational, gender structures). If the needs are being met, then it is the social structures that meet these needs. The structures are thus functional in the sense that they help society to operate. Interconnections exist within and among these structures, and

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