Are Societies Harmonious or in conflict?

Essay by lina_k April 2006

download word file, 3 pages 4.5

Downloaded 24 times

Different sociologists have different views about the amount of harmony or conflict in a society. There are two main conflict theories, Marxism and Action theory. Functionalism argues that there is harmony in society. Marxism argues that as long as there is a hierarchy system there will always be conflict in society because they see society as an exploitative capitalist economic system. They also see stratification as conflict-ridden rather than a means of furthering collective goals. In stratified societies, there is a class structure, which consists of bourgeoisie class and a proletariat class. The power of the bourgeoisie class comes from its minority ownership of capital for example the income of production. The bourgeoisie class exploits and oppresses the proletariat class by paying low wages and keeping some of them unemployed. As a consequence, there is a conflict between the two classes. For example the proletariat class demand better wages by going on strike, proletariat class will have strong feelings of dislike towards them, this may cause tension between the classes.

The social structure of society, such as the law, political and education systems are seen as appliances of the bourgeoisie class domination, which are used to increase its interests by maintaining inequality. For example schools give children an education, so they can have a good future, therefore schools help the ideology of capitalism. There is not a common set of values but a bourgeoisie class ideology, which justifies and legitimates bourgeoisie class domination and projects a distorted picture of reality. It also produces 'false consciousness', which is a false picture of the relationship between social classes.

Religion was described as 'the opium of the masses' as it makes a large contribution to the belief that suffering in this life is justified as a requirement of joy in the afterlife.