conflict theory

(noun) A theory that emphasizes the role of coercion, conflict, and power in society and that social inequality will inevitably occur because of differing interests and values between groups, particularly the competition for scarce resources.

Examples:

Note: Conflict theory can be applied to many sociological topics such as:

  1. Deviance and Crime: Conflict theory suggests that deviance and crime occur due to the conflict between the powerful and the powerless or “the haves” and “have nots.”
  2. Poverty: Conflict theory suggests that the elite use their power to enact and enforce laws to increase and protect their own economic interests and thus lower classes can be reduced to poverty.

Audio Pronunciation: (con·flict the·o·ry)

Download Audio Pronunciation: conflict theory.mp3

Usage Notes:

Related Quotation:

  • “Conflict perspectives argue that society is a continuous power struggle among competing groups, often based on class, race, ethnicity, or gender” (Kendall 2006:37).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 

 


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

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Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

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Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

 

How to Cite the Definition of Conflict Theory

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “conflict-theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 12, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/conflict-theory/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

conflict theory. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/conflict-theory/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “conflict theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/conflict-theory/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“conflict theory.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/conflict-theory/>.