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LECTURE IV
SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR.
SOCIAL CONFLICT
Plan
Social theory conflict
 Social position
 Types and Modes of Conflict
 Group conflict, conflict of interest,
class conflict
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Social conflict theory is a Marxist-based social theory which
argues that individuals and groups (social classes) within
society have differing amounts of material and non-material
resources (the wealthy vs. the poor) and that the more powerful
groups use their power in order to exploit groups with less
power. The two methods by which this exploitation is done are
through brute force and economics. Earlier social conflict
theorists argue that money is the mechanism which creates
social disorder. The theory further states that society is created
from ongoing social conflict between various groups. There are
other theories of deviance, the functionalist theory, the control
theory and the structural strain theory. It also refers to various
types of negative social interaction that may occur within social
relationships.
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Social position means a position of an individual in a given society and culture.
A given position (for example, the occupation of priest) may belong to many
individuals. Social position influences social status. One can have several social
positions, but only one social status.
Social positions an individual may hold fall into the categories of occupation
(medical doctor, academic lecturer), profession (member of associations and
organisations), family (parent, sibling, etc.), hobby (member of various clubs and
organisations), among others. An individual is likely to create a personal
hierarchy of such positions, where one will be a central position while the rest
are perhiperal positions.
Social positions are visible if they require an individual to wear a uniform or
some other kind of identifying mark. Often individual clothes or other attributes
will advertise what social position one has at the moment. Non-visible social
positions are called hidden. A position that is deemed the most important to
given individual is called central, others are peripheral. If a sequence of
positions is required to obtain a given position, it can be defined as a career, and
change of position in this context is a promotion or demotion. Some social
positions may make it easier for a given person to obtain others; in other cases,
some positions may be restricted based to individuals meeting specific criteria.
Social position together with social role determines individual's place in the
social environment and social organisation. A group of social positions will create
a social class and a social circle.
A social conflict caused by interference between social positions is called a
position conflict.
Social conflict is a conflict or confrontation of
social powers.
Social conflict is an important aspect of social
power. Sociologists however differ in views
whether social conflict is limited to hostile or
antagonistic opposition and whether it is a
clash of coercive powers or of any opposing
social powers.
Types of social conflict:
position conflict - conflict involving social
positions
role conflict - conflict involving social roles
Conflict can exist at a variety of levels of analysis:
 intrapersonal conflict (though this usually just gets delegated out
to psychology)
 interpersonal conflict
 emotional conflict
 group conflict
 organizational conflict
 community conflict
 intra-state conflict (for example: civil wars, election campaigns)
 international conflict
 environmental resources conflict
 intersocietal conflict
 intra-societal conflict
 ideological conflict
 diplomatic conflict
 economic conflict
 military conflict
Group conflict
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Group conflicts, or group intrigues, is a manner in which collective
social behaviour causes groups of individuals to contradict with each
other. This contradiction is often caused by differences in social
norms, values, religion, etc. Authoritative individuals within groups
tries to imply a [casus belli] upon their out view and actions against
contradicting groups for justification. Often demagogically classed
arguments is used, but internal collective pressure of one's group
most times prevent individuals from disagreeing or critizising their
own group.
Class conflict
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Class conflict is both the friction that accompanies social relationships between
members or groups of different social classes and the underlying tensions or
antagonisms which exist in society due to conflicting interests that arise from
different social positions. Class conflict is thought to play a pivotal role in history
of class societies (such as capitalism and feudalism) by Marxists and anarchists
who refer to its overt manifestations as class war, a struggle which today, in their
view, is fought most relentlessly and secretly by the capitalist class.
Class conflict can take many different shapes, for example direct violence such
as wars fought for resources and cheap labor, policemen beating poor blacks or
the workers who try to democratically run their workplaces and economy;
indirect violence such as deaths from poverty, starvation or unsafe working
conditions; coercion, such as the threat of losing a job or pulling a much needed
investment, or ideology, e.g. trying to convince people that the power should be
in the hands of the working class or the capitalist class.
It can be open, as with a business lockout aimed at destroying a labor union, or
it can be hidden, as with an informal slowdown in production that protests low
wages or an excessively fast or dangerous work process.
conflict of interest
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A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position
of trust, such as a lawyer, a politician, executive or director of a
corporation or a medical research scientist or physician, has
competing professional or personal interests. Such competing
interests can make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties impartially.
Even if there is no evidence of improper actions, a conflict of interest
can create an appearance of impropriety that can undermine
confidence in the ability of that person to use his/her position with
proper ethics. A conflict of interest can exist even if no unethical or
improper act results from it. This is seen as a "conflict of roles"
where the interest of ones self differs from that of others. The conflict
can be mitigated by third party verification or third party evaluation
noted below - - but it still exists.
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