Conflict may be referred to as the disagreement where people involved perceive a some kind of threat to their concerns, needs, property or interests. Disagreements differ in level, and this is determined by the nature of conflict, whether it is imaginable or true. Social structure, on the other hand, may be referred to as an arrangement of institutions where a human being interacts and co-exists with other people. There are coincidences of perception within a social structure, which are regularities of social life. In trying to understand the nature of social structure, it is important to understand issues relating to trends and integration of inequalities. Social conflict may be perceived to be the confrontation of the social power possessed by an individual. From such a perspective, social conflict seems to be exclusively associated with the social power. On the other hand, social conflict is related not only to the antagonistic or hostile disagreement. Rather, it relates to the social powers that seem to be opposing each other. Within a social setup, social conflicts are inevitable. The paper will study different types of conflicts within social groups, in order to prove the statement.
Conflict within the social setup may be related to intellectual strengths, bargaining power, altruistic, or authoritative intention. Conflicts that relate to authoritative power include the power to appeal, adjudicate or document. Those that relate to intellectual strength include the power to dispute, debate or argue. Bargaining power is manifested through dickering, haggling, bartering or exchanging (Lo%u0301pez, and Scott 30). Given the above examples, it is obvious that these are things that are witnessed in day-to-day life.
The extents, to which a certain social setup can be able to withstand a social conflict, differ. In any social structure, there are occasions when conflicts are experienced because claims of the individuals or subgroups may deviate from each other. The different claims may relate to the scarce resources, different power or prestige possessed.
All social conflicts within a society relate to the interest possessed by individuals or subgroups. An individual’s interest acts as a vector of power. It determines the individual’s attitude, which reciprocates by guiding the framework for execution of anything that may result in good or bad outcomes (Rowan 36). Based on this fact, social power is synonymous to social interests, which are connected to the other selves within an individual. A conflict is bound to occur within a society when individuals strive to meet their interest without considering the interests of others. It is only through a hypothetic lens that one can assume that all groups within a society have homogeneous interest. A free of conflict society can only be witnessed from this point of view.
Interest as a basis of conflict may be of three types. The first type, the conflict results from the congruent interests. In this case, individual 1 and 2 want some commodity x, which is a mutually exclusive one. In this case, the vectors of power possessed by different individuals are opposing each other. This results to a confrontation.
The second type of social conflict may arise when the interests of some individuals are opposing each other. In such case, individual 1 wants to possess an item or commodity x while individual 2 does not want it. This is a very common situation within the society where some people are perceived to have more knowledge in a certain field or profession, or they are supposed to take care of others. A good example is relationships between a parent and a child. A child may prefer a certain thing, while the parent prefers a different one, based on his or her understanding or interest. This is also observed in the political aspect of the social setup. A certain leader may prefer a definite approach towards addressing a particular problem, while a different one prefers an alternative strategy. This may be seen as a reason why people are allowed to vote with their feet. Politicians, for example, seem to take advantage of this sort of discrepancies in society to earn support of some groups. They always come up with manifesto that seems to agree with the majority of the society’s members and meet their requirements, while the opponents fail to do this. This kind of situation may be referred to as the conflict of inverse interests.
A third form of interest discrepancies that make conflict inevitable in the society is a confrontation where different individuals in a particular social setup have opposed interests. Individual 1 may be interested in item x, while individual 2 is interested in item y. For example, there is an American, who wants the United State to become a socialist state, while the other wants it to remain a capitalist one. This type of conflict of interests is very common in the family setups. The parents tend to dictate what they would like to see their children become at the expense of the child’s personal interest. A child may want to become a musician, but based on the thoughts of the parent, he or she may end up enrolling in the engineering course at college (Della, and Diani 41). This type of conflict is referred to as conflict of incompatible interests.
Given the above scenarios, the only common thing within the presented examples of conflict relates to the opposition in the individuals’ interests. The only difference is in whether such conflicts relate to the same idea or commodity, inverse perception and needs, or incompatible objectives and goods. One thing that makes these discrepancies on the interest have a great impact depends on the scarcity of resources, on which decisions are made.
When understanding the relation among people in a society, the flow of resources and groups within it may go a long way into providing knowledge of how conflicts should be addressed within a particular social structure. The connections that exist between different actors, opinion leaders and different groups or individuals have a lot of influence on how fast or effective a conflict spreads. A different way of understanding how social conflicts will remain rampant within the social setup is the dynamism within the social structure.
Some sources of conflicts are more complex, and their impact is serious, and sometimes they can turn to be disastrous. These are mainly conflicts that arise from disconnections because of political, religious, and/ or ethnical rivalry. Conflicts are witnessed between different individuals, groups of people, governments, or countries. This type of conflict is more common on the matter, regarding territorial disagreements. Though, the disconnections that emerge from territorial control dispute may result in conflict, they may not necessarily be the direct cause of the confrontation.
Cultural differences are a major cause of conflicts within the social structure. Culture refers to processes and systems, through which individuals create the picture of the world. It comprises of norms and abilities that people acquire in life based on exposure to symbols, beliefs, values, or rituals. There are, however, diversities in the cultural identities of different people, which result in the creation of a distinct and unique view of the world (Tisdell 14). For people, whose cultures tend to agree, there are high chances of developing strong social cohesions. On the other hand, conflicts are bound to arise where the cultures are divergent.
In many countries of the world, people have the free right to worship. The religious beliefs of some part of the globe are different in various ways. Differences may arise between some religious groups, for example, Christians, Muslims, or Hindus. Such differences may cause the emergence of social division where people from a certain religion tend to associate freer and easier with fellow believers than with others, who profess different faith. This only stresses and emphasizes the reason why it is practically impossible to have a social structure that is free from dispute. In different countries of the world, humanity has witnessed a great number of disagreements and wars between people of different religious affiliations. In Nigeria, Africa, there has been war among the Christians and the Muslims, which resulted from a religious conflict. Religion is a part of a human being, and it is impossible to prohibit freedom of religion and belief. Therefore, conflicts on the religious ground are inevitable.
Conflict that emerges between people may be based on belonging to a certain tribe. A tribe refers to a social group of individuals, who unite together as a result of sharing a particular interest or kinship. Some modern tribes that are rising in the social structure are the unities of people, who are members of the Internet community. For this reason, there are conflicts that arise between people, who share different kinship, or between adults and youth. The last seem to have common interest in modern social technologies, which helps them create social cohesion within their group. Therefore, in the current social setup, the conflicts between the youths seem to be less frequent as compared to adults.
One of the conflicts that have existed for centuries, and will be pressing in the future relates to different classes of people that emerge within certain society. These social inequalities separate the rich from the poor, which leads to an increased conflict of interest within these groups of people. A rich person is likely to despise the poor. In a way, this is natural to many. At the same time, the poor do not like associating with the rich. It is common for the poor to perceive the rich as the main cause of their impoverished life. On the other hand, the rich may perceive the poor as a threat to their wealth. Under such circumstances, the two groups are not likely to have anything in common in terms of their goals, and hence, a political way of addressing the needs of the society is likely to benefit the opposing groups differently.
Gender discrimination is one of the concerns that cause conflict in the social structures today. There is a general perception of a woman being a weaker sex. In many traditional setups, the society is characterized by male chauvinism (Carl 24). Men wish to dictate their way and choice without expecting any opposition from the women. Over time, women have also developed a better understanding of what is right for them and how to advocate for what they think is good. In various occasions, women have gone out of their comfort zone claiming what they think and perceive to be theirs. The modern woman is more educated and demands equal consideration. On the other hand, in the less developed countries, there are still places where the girl child does not access education simply because the culture does not allow this. However, quite often the society has witnessed women standing out and claiming to be granted what they believe is theirs. This is irrespective of what the man has in mind. The conflict between the two genders is rising, as the modern woman becomes more independent, and hence, is not over relying on men for whatever support. Different interests of the two groups explain why it is quite infeasible to think of having no confrontation between the genders.
Modernity seems to contribute to the conflicts that are being witnessed in the social setups. This has resulted from the changing lifestyles. There are increasing concerns about one’s personal interests and not in the society’s ones. People are becoming more self-centered, and some of those obligations that used to belong to a particular group of people had been dropped. For example, people used to rely on their children for support when being old. However, because of the changes that have occurred in the lifestyle, youths are no more concerned about the needs of the elder people. As such, some additional conflicts arise. From a different point of view, institutions that facilitate saving for the future are already operating in the market. As a result, the parents are no more depending on their children, in order to guarantee better life in the future. Instead, they are saving for themselves. Sometime, the savings are made at the expense of other expenditures, such as paying fees for the child’s college tuition. In such a situation, parents are interested in seeing their children become self-reliant and understand the reality of life. The conflict, however, arise due to the over reliance of the college student on their parent, and they would wish their parents to continue with their support.
It is important to appreciate the kind of interconnection that results from the formation of social structures. These connections comprise of friends, dealings and alliances; such interconnectedness has an impact of immediate and effective diffusion of ideas and ideologies, mainly at the beginning of the conflict. In such a case, an idea is passed from one individual to another if the cause of the conflict is insignificant. However, if the cause of conflict is serious, it may provoke different groups or individuals to take action, independently of each other.
Conflict in the society is a reality of life. The major concern of these groups of people is about the power, existing between parties that are conscious of the conflict and are deliberately attempting to satisfy their conflicting interests. Guided by the interest, majority of the social conflicts are said to be realistic, because they result from people getting involved in a deliberate orientation towards the other selves. However, there are some antagonistic code of conduct, which may include pugnacity, frustration, and aggression. These are reflex actions that may characterize different antagonistic circumstances, such as wild shooting spree and family brawl. These are said to be unrealistic conflicts.
There are some conflicts in the society that are associated with certain facts and events. Conflict of fact may relate to an occasion that occurred in the past; the interest is to verify the fact about such an event. For example, what recovery policy did the Treasury proposed to the business in 2009? In such a case, both parties may be interested in the truth and hence can solve the conflict easily, given that truth is not a restricted resource. However, social conflicts in such matters may result from opposing interests or status.
There are conflicts of rules or practices, which are rather common in the social setups. They are also so called conflicts of rights and are concerned with the feasibility and correctness of an informal or formal norm. For example, are the abortion rights constitutional? The conflict in this case can also be expressed in terms of disinterested fashion. The conflict of interest that emerges from this type of disagreement results from confrontation between needs and wants of the opposing groups.
Other form of conflicts within the society may relate to the goods. In this case, conflicts are associated with inverse, positive, or incompatible interests of an individual. There are other conflicts that are more common and relate to differences in ideologies. They relate to whether something is right or wrong; whether it is justifiable or not, or whether something is good or bad. This underlines the norms and values that an individual associate with him/herself.
Any social conflict may have both desirable and undesirable consequences. When some people feel intimidated and are denied their rights, the conflicts are said to have undesirable effects. However, there may be some positive outcomes of the social conflicts. Such outcomes include generation of new norms that are likely to reduce differences among the parties in the social setup in the future. Therefore, it reduces the chances of occurrence of a catastrophic breakdown. It also helps in establishing relative power of the antagonistic influences, which may help ensure a continuous power balance. Conflicts may also help develop association with others. In addition, when a group is formed as a result of a conflict with others it is possible to maintain such boundary line between the resultant group and the external social environment.
In conclusion, it is worthwhile noting that the very nature of man to be a social being makes social conflicts inevitable. There are different causes of conflicts between individuals in a certain social setup. Among the major causes is a lack of interest coincidence and wish to satisfy one’s personal needs. The implication of social conflicts may be both constructive and destructive. However, it is possible for the society to benefit from some conflicts if guided by proper principles.