Social conflict is a form of conflict in society that occurs due to various factors. The complexity of social conflict makes studying this phenomenon give rise to multiple theories. Among the sociological thinkers who formulated specific theories to analyze social conflict were Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf.
Conflict theory was born to oppose the theory of structural functionalism. This is because the last theory provides an understanding that it is as if the development of society is balanced and static.
Conflict theory comes with the understanding that society is changing because of the ongoing conflicts in life.
Conflict also turns out to be derived from class conflicts, for example, the ruling group and the oppressed community group. This was one of the factors that brought about social changes or social systems in social life.
An unbalanced condition ignores generally accepted norms and values but still affects people’s lives. In other words, social life cannot be separated from the various conflicts that occur in it.
So, what are the Differences in the Conflict Theory of Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf?
Karl Marx’s Conflict Theory
Karl Marx considers that a class conflict occurs due to differences in access to power. In this case, the key meant by Karl Marx is the facility of capital (money) which can create two classes, namely the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Furthermore, Elena G. Bystova and Petter Gottschalk, in their research, add that Karl Marx views conflict as a form of class conflict. Karl Marx also explained the concept of class structure in a society full of inequality.
Both class differences and social inequality can cause conflicts in everyday life. Some groups can dominate, and some are controlled only because of differences in economic class.
The following are the main concepts in Karl Marx’s conflict theory:
- There is a class structure in society
- There are conflicting economic interests in each of the different classes
- There is a significant influence of economic class on a person’s lifestyle
- The influence of class conflict can lead to changes in social structure
Ralf Dahrendorf’s Conflict Theory
Ralf Dahrendorf’s opinion about conflict theory. He wrote that Ralf Dahrendorf proposed an idea that concluded: conflict occurs because of the social relations in a system.
Thus, it can be concluded that conflict only occurs with groups belonging to one system. The relations were also classified by power. The existence of the controller with sanctions makes those who have power can benefit from those they control.
This conflict finally conveyed a conflict between the owners of power and those who were not in control.
Not only that, but Ralf Dahrendorf’s conflict theory also explains that society has two sides, namely conflict and cooperation.
In the end, both the theory of Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf explain that conflicts that occur in society can be a factor in social change. In other words, conflict, discontinuity, inequality, and deviation of norms and values also become an unavoidable part of society.