Interesting social sciences/Conflict theory. Social conflict and social control
The debatable questions in conflict theory
There are several unresolved problem in such science as conflict theory:
- What is an essence of interrelation between the social conflict and social control?
- Do conflicts have a benefit?
- What is the reasons and the purpose of conflict?
- What is criterion for the classification of conflicts?
- Is it necessary to settle all conflicts on the basis of the voluntary agreement between conflicting sides?
- What is the basis for agreement between the conflicting sides during the settlement of conflict?
A social conflict is the form of social interaction under which the participants of this conflict attempt to conquer the victory above their opponents with the help of different means with the aim of the physical destruction of opponent, with the aim transformation of opponent into the object of control, with the aim the conquering of the somebody else’s sphere of influence and somebody else’s resources.
A social control is the form of social interaction under which the controller forces the object of control to the fulfillment of norms of behavior with help of the threat of the application of positive or negative sanctions, with help of the introduction of stereotypes.
Thus, there are two statuses (controller and objects of control) in relations of social control.
A sanction is reward or punishment, thus positive or negative sanctions exist.
A norm is the rule of behavior.
A stereotype is the model for the imitation, which takes root in the consciousness of the people through the media and mass culture.
The temporary consistency of the mechanism for control with help of the threat of the application of sanctions consists of three stages:
- the broadcasting of norms,
- supervision for the fulfillment of norms,
- the application of negative sanctions against the disturbers of norms and the application of positive sanctions for the obedient executors of norms.
Below I will try to give the answers on debatable questions in conflict theory, this debatable questions were assigned above.
Essence of the interrelation between the concepts of social conflict and social control.
There is no description of the logical principle of the interrelation between the conceptions of “social conflict” and “social control” in the sociological literature. These conceptions are examined in the detachment from each other. The theoretical novelty of my approach consists to the detection of the essence of this interrelation. Exactly the understanding of the essence of this interrelation makes it possible to solve all enumerated above problems of conflict theory.
The essence of interrelation between social conflict and social control consists of the following:
- From one side, the winner in the conflict becomes by controller before the following flash of conflict. The person who has lost in the conflict becomes by object of control. The person who has lost in the conflict is forced to perish or to give to the winner a sphere of influence
- From other side, the controller is forced to support the optimum level of the strictness of the sanctions of social control, because too severe or too soft social control causes the new flash of conflict because the object of control begins to doubt in the ability of controller to fulfill its functions.
The object of control goes to the conflict with the controller because of a feeling of desperation in the case of too severe social control and the object of control decides to risk by own life, by achievements in the career or by wages for the sake of the liberation from too severe control. The object of control receives the hope on the victory over the controller in the case of too soft control, since object of control begins to consider that controller is too weak and incapable to use punishments. For example, the pupils arrange the disruption of lesson in the case of the too tyrannical or too tolerant style of the establishing order on the lesson from the side of teacher.
Benefit of conflicts
With the point of view for the representatives of such direction in macrosociology as structural functionalism, each custom and each organization have own function in the society, conflicts do not have a benefit and a function in the society; therefore conflicts must be eradicated. Empirical sociological research were developed intensively in first half 20 century (research of conflicts in the small groups and the production organizations, research of the conflicts in the form of strikes, protest demonstrations, riots and military conflicts). The purpose of these research is the explanation of the reasons of conflicts and the search of the effective procedures of their settling. The conflicts were considered in this case as the negative processes, which restrain the development of society. Talcott Parsons saw the main task of sociology in the establishment of the non‐conflicting relations between different elements of society with aim of the establishment of equilibrium, mutual understanding and collaboration. In his opinion, law’s institutes, religion and customs carry out the function of settlement of conflicts. The society becomes all less conflicting in process of development of society. This concept of Talcott Parsons was underwent by the substantiated criticism for “frailty”. With an opposite point of view, which belongs to the representatives of conflict theory, conflicts are inevitable in the society, but conflicts must be settled, conflicts have a benefit and harm in the society. Lewis A. Coser indicated to the negative and positive functions of conflict.
The following negative functions of conflict exist:
- the worsening of the social climate,
- the reduction of productivity of labor,
- the dismissal of the part of the workers with aim of resolution of conflict,
- the inadequate perception by the opposite sides of each other and the decreasing of collaboration between them,
- the material and emotional expenditures for resolution of conflict.
The following positive functions of conflict exist:
- the conflict is the reason for change and development of social system, the conflict is the source of innovations,
- conflict makes it possible to build hierarchy inside the social groups,
- conflict makes it possible to create organization,
- conflict makes it possible to join the association of adherents,
- conflict makes possible for man to appear his activity, thus, conflict stimulates the development of personality, conflict brings up self‐esteem, firmness, courage and leader’s qualities,
- outcome of conflict removes latent tension and outcome of conflict gives the exit for energy.
I am agreeable with the point of view of conflict theory completely. Benefit and function of conflict consist in that the development of society takes place with help of conflict and the natural selection of aspirants to controllers take place with help of conflict; therefore the complete eradication of conflict is utopia, conflict is the necessary element of social structure.
The purpose of conflict is the conquest of resources, status of controller or sphere of influence. The reason of conflict is the human needs for wealth, prestige and power in spite of interests of other people. The consequence of these conflicts is the inevitable and natural inequality between the people in the society. The status of controller, the conquered sphere of influence, the wealth, the prestige and the power are prizes for winner in the conflict. The inequality between the controller and the object of control serves as an example of the inequality between the people. Some elites attempt to create themselves unfair advantages in the conflict in the form of caste’s or class’s privileges sometimes, some elites attempt to forbid for the representatives of bottoms to make legal career. Such elites attempt to abolish the free elections, the market competitions, the marriages between the representatives of bottoms and tops, such elites attempt to abolish the right of the representative of bottoms to address into the law court or to challenge on the duel of the representative of elite. This attempts lead unavoidably to the loss of competitive ability at the representatives of elite and this attempts lead to the social revolution, when “upstarts” from the bottoms are forced to destroy physically of “degenerates” from the old elite and “upstarts” from the bottoms are forced to occupy place at the top of social pyramid instead representatives of old elite.
The criterions for the classification of the forms of social conflict and social control.
Such essential criterion is the kind of means for struggle under conducting of conflict.
The following means of struggle for the different kinds of the conflict exist:
- The gestures of aggression, flirtation, lie, etc.
- Verbal abuse or praise, the spreading of gossips.
- The weapon.
- Organization of election campaign, meetings and demonstrations, political advertisement, denunciation into the higher instances, the bureaucratic intrigues, the strike.
- The religious curses in the address of opponents, sacred inquisition.
- The cheap and high‐quality goods.
- The high‐quality work of art.
- The rhetorical methods, the sophistical tricks and the scientific proof.
My criterion for the classification of kinds of social control is the kind of sanctions or stereotypes. Psychological science did not open to the end the device of the mechanism of psychological control (mechanism of hypnosis, “fateful” love, influence of demagogue on the crowd). Moral, armed, administrative, economic and religious kinds of control are built on the mechanism of the threat of sanctions.
Five kinds of the sanctions are applied in five corresponding kinds of control:
- The moral sanctions (praise or insult).
- The armed sanctions (corporal punishments).
- The administrative sanctions (increase or demotion to the service, the dismissal or providing of work).
- The religious sanctions (threat of eternal torments in hell or eternal bliss in to paradise, the promise of advantages or penalties in the process of reincarnation (in the process regeneration of souls).
- The economic sanctions (award and penalty).
Aesthetical and ideological kinds of control are built on the mechanism of the introduction of stereotypes.
In my opinion, there are eight kinds of social conflict and there are eight analogous kinds of the social control:
|Kinds of social conflict.||Kinds of the social control.|
|1. Psychological conflict.||1. Psychological control.|
|2. Moral conflict.||2. Moral control.|
|3. Armed conflict.||3. Armed control.|
|4. Administrative conflict.||4. Administrative control.|
|5. Religious conflict.||5. Religious control.|
|6. Economic conflict.||6. Economic control.|
|7. Aesthetical conflict.||7. Aesthetical control.|
|8. Ideological conflict.||8. Ideological control.|
The essence of this classification will be opened in more detail below. Examples of the kinds of conflict and social control will be named below. The kinds of social conflict and social control were invented not simultaneously, but the kinds of social conflict and social control were invented in turn in the process of the history of human society. The broadcasting of norms and the threat of sanctions is realized not with help of the words in the process of psychological control and psychological conflict frequently, but it is realized in form of the language of gestures. Humanity inherited these primitive kinds of psychological conflict and psychological control from the animal ancestors.
It is possible to give the following examples of each kind of the conflict:
1). Examples of the psychological conflict:
- the mutual intimidation in the language of gestures,
- the clarification in the process of the flirtation of that fact, who is leader in the love relations,
- the competition of demagogues for the influence on the crowd.
2). Example of the moral conflict:
- the quarrel between people in the process of fight for status of leader in the small group.
3). Examples of the armed conflict:
- the hunting on wild animals,
- the war between the states,
- civil war,
- the war between the criminal groups and the war of criminal groups against the police,
- the armed seizure of power,
- political murder,
- extremist terror,
- sport’s competitions, as kind of a show, the first examples of sports competitions: Olympic Games in Ancient Greece and Gladiatorial fights in Ancient Rome.
4). Examples of the administrative conflict:
- political elections,
- the conflict of bureaucratic cliques, fight behind scene, clique is group or the gang of adherents, this group strive to dismiss from the work of the members of other cliques with help of different methods and this group strive to move the members of own clique upward on the administrative official stairs.
- the fight of factions in a parlament or in party,
- the strike of workers.
Three forms of the political elections exist:
- the elections at the popular assembly under direct democracy,
- the elections in the privileged assembly (Senate) under aristocracy,
- the multi-party public election of the President and the deputies under representative democracy, the deputies vote in the parliament instead of their voters and in the interests of their voters.
The system of election in the popular assemble was brought to perfection in Ancient Athens, the system of election in the privileged senate was brought to perfection in Ancient Greek Sparta and in Ancient Rome, and the system of multi-party public elections was brought to perfection in England and the USA as a result of activity of the parties of chartists and feminists. Chartists have achieved of right to vote for workers, and feminists have achieved of right to vote for the women.
5). An example of religious conflict is religious competition between the church and sectarian organizations for the sphere of influence on the believers within the framework of the observance of the freedom of religion, invented in the USA.
6). An example of economic conflict is the market competition, under conditions of which such producer survives, who can produce and sell goods on the smallest price and with the best quality. Market competition was invented by Phoenicians and ancient Greeks in Athens. There were invented sea trade and seagoing ships, handicraft production of goods for sale and particular ownership of the means of production in Phoenicia and Athens, but Phoenicians and ancient Greeks used slaves as the work force instead of the hired workers employed for money. Gold coins were invented in Lydia. The market competition was abolished and subsistence economy is restored in the Middle Ages in Western Europe, because the center of the development of European civilization had moved from the Mediterranean to European continent, and trade along the overland roads was hindered because of the feudal fragmentation. The market competition was restored in Western Europe under capitalism on the new basis. Oceanic trade and ocean‐going ships (carracks and caravels), wage labour and machine production were invented in addition to the old signs of market. Oceanic trade, carracks and caravels were invented in Portugal and Spain.
7). An example of aesthetic conflict is the competition between the creators of art, this competition was invented in ancient Athens.
8). An example of ideological conflict is dispute or discussion between the scientists, between the politicians or between the media. Logic is science about the laws of correct thinking. Rhetoric is science about the eloquence. Logic and rhetoric were invented in Ancient Greece.
It is possible to give the following examples for each kind of control:
1). Examples of the psychological controllers:
- the hypnotist,
- the demagogue, who knows how to influence on crowd.
- the "fatal" person who able to inspire unrequited love to own person from the representative of an opposite sex.
2). An example of moral control is the control of leader in the small group with help of such sanctions as praises or curses under the conditions of the moral support of this leader from the side of the majority of the members of this group.
3). An examples of the armed control:
- the control of herdsman, horseman and the coachman in the farmer economy in relation to domestic animals,
- the control of leader in the criminal groups,
- the control of head of mafia in Russian prison, the control medical orderlies in psychiatric hospital, the control guards in any total institution (army barracks, slaveholding economy, concentration camp) ‐ with help of such sanctions as corporal punishments.
- the authorities turn out the system of criminal law into the system of state’s terror and intimidation of citizens under such form of Government as tyranny.
4). An examples of the administrative control:
- the control inside the vassal‐fief system,
- the control inside any bureaucratic organization (tax service, army, church, police, system of education, system of state public health, government sector in the economy, socialist planned economy, system of executive power) with help of such sanctions as increase or demotion to the service, the dismissal or providing of work. Administrative control was invented together with the invention of bureaucracy in Ancient Egypt and in States of Mesopotamia.
5). An example of religious control is the control “of the prophet” in the charismatic sect and control of the priest above the believers with help of such sanctions as the threats of eternal torments in hell or the promise of eternal bliss in to paradise in Christianity and Islam, promise of advantages in the process of reincarnation in Buddhism. Religious control was invented in such world religions as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. The mechanism of religious control (in Christianity) was invented in the period of the sunset of Roman empire.
6). An examples of the economic control:
- the control in private enterprise,
- the control of international banks,
- the government’s control of market.
Economic control is fulfilled with help of such sanctions as money’s award and penalty. This kind of control is most effective today. Economic control was invented under capitalism in England and Netherlands. International banks attempt to control economically to the policy of whole countries. The system of the government’s control of the domestic market uses such economic sanctions as privileges on the credits, the taxes and the customs duties.
7). An example of aesthetic control is a control with help of the introduction of aesthetic stereotypes (attractive images).
8). An example of ideological control is control with help of the introduction of ideological stereotypes by the way of multiple repetition of norms of behavior. Political and commercial advertisement serves as an example of aesthetical and ideological control. The invention of mass media (newspapers, cinema, radio, television, video) allowed to build the system of ideological and aesthetical control into Western Europe and USA under capitalism. State’s ideological machine was built under the Communist and Fascist tyranny with help of deception and disinformation of citizens in the interests of authorities. That to protect of citizens from this danger, freedom of press exists under western democracy. Freedom of press is the system of competition between the private mass medias. Television company, which gives the false, uninteresting or obsolete information, is forced to ruin in conditions of this competition.
There are three kinds of the conflict:
- Fight for own life, for own existence and for an opportunity to have own posterity.
- The conflict for the status of the controller.
- The conflict for a sphere of influence between several controllers.
Charles Darwin has noticed correctly that a fight of the first kind - fight for own life and for life of own posterity (maternal instinct) exists against representatives of other species almost only in the biosphere. Males of one specie fight with each other for the right to copulate and to have own posterity from a female. The psychological conflict and psychological control exist already at the highest animals, in particular in pack of wolves or in herd of ungulates. Other kinds of the conflict and control listed in my classification are characteristic only for people and animals couldn't invent them.
Fight for own life (fight for existence according to Charles Darwin) happens in human society only in such kind of the conflict as the armed conflict. A fight for the status of the controller or for a sphere of influence exist in other kinds of the conflict, but fight for own life don't exist in other kinds of the conflict. Loser is killed only in the armed kind of the conflict sometimes. The loser can choose between the prospect of own death and the status of the prisoner of war even in the war today. Thus a fight for the status of the winner exist, but fight for own life don't exist in modern war partially. European empires fight among themselves for a sphere of influence - for partition of colonies between European empires in World War I.
The psychological conflict and the administrative conflict go for the status of the controller - for the status of the hypnotist, for the status of "fatal" person in love, for status of the chief (the winner in secret fight), for status of the president (the winner on elections). The economic conflict in a form of the market competition, the religious conflict between churches and sects, an esthetic competition between actors and film studios, an ideological disputes between scientists and an ideological disputes between correspondents of newspapers - these kinds of the conflict go for a sphere of influence on consumers, believers, fans of music.
The conflict for the status of the controller and for a sphere of influence is widespread in society, though as a last resort, fight for own life is applied in society. There was a transition from prevalence of fight for life to prevalence of the conflicts for the status of the controller and a sphere of influence in the course of human history. It turns out that the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin is only a special case of the my general theory about interrelation between the conflict and control.
Whether it is necessary to settle the conflicts?
In my opinion, the settlement of conflict is the impracticable task until participants of conflict will be agreeable to keep some conditions of truce. These conditions can consist from agreement about the repartition of resources, boundaries of the spheres of influence or about the observance of a treaty, according to which the winner in conflict becomes controller, and loser men in conflict becomes by object of control. This is the basis for the treaty between the conflicting sides. This treaty is the result of the test of forces in the conflict usually, but this treaty is not the result of frequently useless conversations with the psychotherapist. This treaty is superfluous in the case of physical destruction of one of two opposite sides of conflict.
A court, a police and a prison are engaged by settling of the conflicts in society. The court monitors for observance of rules of fight in society and the сourt has powers to apply sanctions against violators of these rules. Religious organizations and psychological service has no such powers. Religious organizations and psychological service are not able to settle some conflicts often. Religious organizations and psychological service are capable to console of losers only, religious organizations and psychological service are capable to prevent cases of alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide among losers. Religious organizations are capable to prevent mass riots and mutinies with participation of losers.
It isn’t possible to settle all forms of conflict in the court, for example, it isn’t possible to settle psychological moral armed conflicts and conflicts of bureaucratic cliques in the court. People avoid to appeal to court most frequently for such insignificant questions as everyday quarrels. The criminal cases about “fateful” love are excited in the case of murder or suicide of victim only. Criminals avoid appeal to court frequently, since appeal into the court contradicts the principles of thievish “honor”. Сontroversial problems are resolved at criminals not in the court, but on the meeting with the participation of criminal authorities instead of the judges, in “honest” duel or with help of the destruction of the enemy as a result of war between the gangsters. Сontroversial questions of nobility’s honor were resolved at nobles with help not in court, but with help of the duel. The settling of all forms of armed conflict is most difficult task. Victory is reached here frequently only after physical destruction enemy or taking into the captivity of the most part of the hostile Army, when further continuation of war is impossible for defeated party. Fight without the rules goes in war most frequently, when all is permitted. The parties in the war sign treaties about the prohibition of the application of the most barbarous forms of weapon sometimes, about execution of prisoners of war and about terror against the innocent civilians, but these treaties are violated often. For example, Germany used poison gas in World War 1 in spite of the articles of prewar treaties. Terrorists are capable to execute hostages or children, terrorists are capable to blow up of peaceful citizens in spite of all laws. Observance of the bans at warfare is built frequently only on the fear before the reciprocal application of the forbidden type of weapon, but observance of the bans under warfare is'not built on the fear before the judicial sanctions frequently. There is this rule in war ‐ the winner is always right. The representatives of one clique create the intolerable working conditions for the representatives of another clique during the conflict between the bureaucratic cliques, which unavoidably appears in any “office”. The representatives of one clique force of representatives of another cliques to leave at own will, in this case the first try not to give to the second of occasion for the appeal into the court. Not all forms of conflict must be settled, since. it is profitable for society to support such forms of conflict as market competition, political elections, creative competition between workers of show business, scientific dispute, sport competitions. For this purpose state fights with those participants in the conflict, who knew how to conquer all their rivals and to attain monopoly position on the market. State supports opposition in the political sphere and the state monitors for observance of political freedoms. For example, the President of the USA Theodore Roosevelt was obtained nickname “the destroyer of the trusts”. As the answer owners of this trusts created the transnational corporations, when central office is located in the USA, and assembly plants are located in the countries of Third World. As a result it is very difficult to bring to court on a similar company and to divide on the part by a similar company of the based on a court decision one country. Furthermore, a similar company obtains the possibility to exploit cheap labor of the countries of Third World. The system of the separation of powers is built on conflict between the branches of power.
Two type of conflicts
All conflicts are divided into two types:
- The conflicts, which are conducted without the rules and without an arbitrator. This conflicts are conducted before the complete physical destruction of the lost side of conflict sometimes.
- The conflicts, which are conducted according to the rules, where the arbitrator exists, arbitrator watches for the observance of the rules of game and the arbitrator awards the victory. Such conflicts finish with the destruction of the lost side of conflict never.
Only first kind of conflict is applied in living nature. Hunting is finished with death of animals from the hands of man most frequently, but it is very seldom, that hunting is finished by the placement of animals into the zoo. The rules are introduced even in the sphere of hunting and fishing today, this rules forbid by hunting on the rare animals, included into the IUCN Red List, this rules forbid by hunting and fishing in the specific periods of time ‐ period of the spawning of fish, nesting of birds and so on. The most barbarous kinds of weapon of mass destruction were forbidden or limited in 20 centuries, and the rules of treatment with the prisoners of war were accepted. Knightly duel was passed according to the rules "The Code Of Honor", seconds followed for observance of this rules. Usurpers and conspirators destroy by overthrown rulers after palace coup or after plot for the purpose of seizure of power usually, because the overthrown rulers are too great a danger for the conspirators in the case of return of overthrown rulers to the power. For example, such tsars as False Dmitry I, Peter 3 of Russia, Ivan VI of Russia, Paul I of Russia, Nicholas II of Russia were killed in the course palace coup or after palace coup. As the exception from the general rule, Nikita Khrushchev and Mikhail Gorbachev was sent to the pension. The fight of bureaucratic cliques goes without rules, because this fight goes secretly, winners do not destroy by defeated rivals, but winners dismiss by defeated rivals. The small group is arbiter in the moral quarrel, the small group awards a victory. The rules of game and court exist in the elections, the market competition, the religious conflict, creative competition and scientific dispute. The development of society conducts to reduction of the sphere for the propagation of fight without the rules. The development of society conducts to the expansion of the sphere of the propagation of those forms of the conflict, where an arbiter and rules of game exist.
As the conclusion it should be noted that I could give above answers to all controversial answers in conflict theory.