Conflict Theory

Basics

Slides: conflict and critical theory.pdf conflict and critical theory.pptx

Does social conflict indicate a society is not "healthy"?
For Marx, conflict (class conflict in particular) is the "engine of history"
For Durkheim, conflict would be considered a normal property of societies in some measure.
For Weber, too, conflict would be seen as normal — he saw power, and struggles over and for power, as fundamental social processes.

Bottom line here is that you can't unequivocally find the "opposite" of critical theory in the classics — though Durkheim usually gets the most blame if somebody is going to get it.

In his preface to part three, "The Golden Moment 1945-1963," Lemert suggests we can identify three strands in mid-century sociology (281.2):
affirming the status quo
doubting
objecting to

1940s and 1950s. "Radical" critique of emerging post-war modernity. Adorno & Horkheimer. Reisman. Mass society as object of critique. Interestingly, orientation is about the loss of foundation of Western culture (H&A). Loss of American character to "other directed conformity" (R). Potentially conservative. Roots of neo-conservatism.

Erikson: identity crisis as normal.

Goffman: social interaction is performance.

Lacan & Beauvoir: invention of the OTHER. Then colonialism. Then race. etc.

Mills against "mindless empiricism and abstract theorizing"

Power elite.

Friedan
Port Huron statement

Resources

Giddens talking about Marx, Weber, and Durkheim

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