Social Theories & Social Change Conflict Theory & Functionalism Conflict Theory • All societies have underlying conflict between social groups • Change is a result of such conflicts being played out • Conflict between the classes determines social change • Power goes to the winning group in the conflict • Social Consensus is an illusion Conflict is inevitable • A Big Picture (Macro World) Theory Karl Marx (German) (1818-1883) • Founded the conflict perspective • Father of Communism •Wrote the Communist Manifesto “Workers of the world unite you have nothing to loose but your chains You have a world to win” –(1848) Conflict Theory’s Uses • Shows how people operate in classes. • Explains that these classes have an ECONOMIC base. • Describes how classes will use violence when given no other options. • Explains the importance of Alienation among social groups. • China town torched in Honiara 2006 – looks like a “race riot” • Conflict Theory explains that this has an economic cause! Fiji a case study in Conflict • Fiji is a small Pacific Island nation population 800,000 • There are two distinct cultural groups. (Islander 51% and Indian 44%) • Since 1987 this has been serious and has resulted in two Coups. • Tensions are visible in the towns The Superficial View • Conflict looks like the result of deep social, cultural and religious divisions. • There is very little non commercial contact between both groups • Each group retains its own language and customs – made easy because English is used for commerce and education. • Intermarriage is almost unheard of. Conflict Theory Analysis • All conflict is economic • Indians have benefited the Global economy. They are educated, English speaking and engage in business • Islanders have provided much of the cheap labour for Fiji’s industry – notably textiles • This is the core cause of the Conflict • The image opposite says it all. • A semi clothed Islander with a stick hitting a car (some thing that an average wage earner could never hope to own) driven by an Indian. Functionalism • On the other side of the social fence to the Conflict theorists are the Functionalists. • Emile Durkheim in the 1890s proposed that Society functions like a biological organism. • Functionalism stresses consensus and equilibrium. Social Change vs Social Order • Functionalists see society as made up of inter-dependent sections which work together to fulfill the needs for the survival of society as a whole. • People are socialised into roles and behaviours which fulfill the needs of society. • Social Change disrupts social equilibrium but changes in social roles and functions quickly adapt to restore social order. An example • New technologies dislocate operators of the old technologies. • However many new occupations ( functions) are created by the more complex nature of the new syatems. • The small scale operation of the bullock cart supports up to three occupations • A railway system creates thousands • Social stability is maintained. Functionalism in Vanuatu • In traditional niVanuatu society power was held by the local tribal chiefs. • In the 1980s Vanuatu became a representative Democracy. • The Chiefs were given roles as members of the Upper house. • New roles = change with minimal conflict. Functionalism and Conflict Theories compared Functionalism Conflict Theory • Society is held together by shared values and collective agreement • Society is held together by the ability of the dominant group to oppress and impose their desires onto subordinate groups • Consensus as the normal state of society/Conflict as abnormal or representing an area where society has broken down • Conflict is the organizing principle of society • Change is inevitable but evolutionary- a natural progression of society through reform • Change is abrupt, often violent and revolutionary because it must overthrow the existing social order • Meritocracy exists in our current society- if you work hard you can achieve anything. Rewards and success are commensurate with hard work and ability • Meritocracy is an ideology used to disguise true power relations. It keeps people believing in the system which is actuality a sorting machine that serves the interest of the powerful • Inequality and stratification are natural and necessary for the functioning of society • Inequality and stratification are manufactured by the dominant group to serve their own purposes Functionalist Theories of Education • Since society is held together by shared values and collective agreement, education functions to socialize students according to these shared values Function of schooling is to maintain social order Schooling operates in the interests of the majority of citizens since social order is in their best interest Purpose of education • • • – – – – • Intellectual (teach cognitive skills) Political (develop allegiance to the political order and how to function within a democracy, learn basic laws of society) Social (socialization to ensure social cohesion) Economic (prepare students for later occupational roles, select and train and allocate individuals in the division of labor) Meritocracy: Success in school and therefore society is based on merit and/or achieved through hard work. Conflict Theories of Education • Since society is held together by the ability of the dominant group to oppress and impose their desires onto subordinate groups, education is also tool of oppression • Schooling is an active agent in the distribution of power and access to resources • Purpose of Education – Sorting Machine: education stratifies people in neither natural nor fair ways. Such stratification serves the interests of the powerful to maintain their domination. Students are sorted toward occupations not based on ability but based on their racial, gender, and class identities. – Differential Socialization: Inequality as perpetuated through socializationwhere certain classes and races are socialized into limited occupational roles while others are socialized into higher tier occupations. – Promote Meritocracy: an ideological cloud that creates false consciousness.