Differences in Conflict Theory of Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf
Differences in Conflict Theory of Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf

Differences in Conflict Theory of Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf

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Social conflict is defined as a form of conflict in society that occurs due to various factors. The complexity of social conflict makes the study of this phenomenon give rise to various types of theories. Among the sociological thinkers who formulated specific theories to analyze social conflict were Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf.

Basically conflict theory was born to oppose the theory of structural functionalism. This is because the last theory is considered to provide 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 turned out to be one of the factors that brought about social changes or social systems in social life.

A condition that can be said to be unbalanced seems to ignore generally accepted norms and values, but still affects people’s lives. In other words, social life cannot be separated from the various kinds of conflicts that occur in it.

So, what is the Differences in Conflict Theory of Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf?

Karl Marx’s Conflict Theory

Karl Marx considers that there is class conflict that occurs due to differences in access to power. In this case, the access meant by Karl Marx is the facility of capital (money) which is able to 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.

See also  Conflict Theory According to C. Wright Mills

Both class differences and social inequality can cause conflicts in everyday life. In fact, there can be groups that seem to 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 big influence of economy 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 a theory that concluded: conflict occurs because of the social relations in a system.

Thus, it can be concluded that conflict does not occur without 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 information that there was a conflict between the owners of power and those who were not in power.

Not only that, 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 of social change. In other words, conflict, discontinuity, inequality, to the deviation of norms and values, also become an unavoidable part of society.


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