Conflict theory argues that social behavior can best be understood in terms of the tension and conflict that arises between individuals and groups in pursuit of their individual ideologies and agendas (Vago, 2003). Many times these conflicts revolve around scarce commodities, and the pursuit is change rather than order, and social change is the process of by which society improves and pursues its pinnacle of existence (Vago, 2003).
Karl Marx used this perspective as the foundation of his social theory that is hinged on the conflict between social classes because change does not occur without conflict (Vago, 2003). Since different social classes will have, sometimes widely, differing views on economics, ethics, religion, and philosophy, conflict is inevitable as differing social classes interact with one another (Elwell, 2013). Capitalism, though different in the philosophical details, would also agree that through politics, struggle for human rights, and economic competition, change will occur (Fraser & Campolo, 1992).
Some would like to believe that conflict, whether war or ideological, is avoidable and the pursuit should be peace and harmony among mankind. Unfortunately, this may not be a possibility on this side of eternity. Before the creation of mankind, conflict existed beginning with the rise of Lucifer against the Trinity (Isa. 14:12-15, Eze. 28:12-17), and carries on in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). From that point on, mankind has been caught in a conflict for his soul, and every individual has his own part to play in the battle. Even in the pursuit of personal development, whether living a healthy life, developing a new skill, or modifying behavior, change does not come without its own internal conflict with one’s own self.
Mankind is caught in conflict on every level: from within all the way to the spiritual realm, so it is reasonable to believe the social conflict is also a part of mankind’s course in life.
Elwell, F. W. (2013). Sociocultural systems: principles of structure and change. Edmonton: Au Press.
Fraser, D. A., & Campolo, A. (1992). Sociology through the eyes of faith (1st ed). San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
Vago, S. (2003). Social change (5th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.