Science article A sociological approach to conflict is gaining momentum as new theories of conflict emerge.
In a new article, a team of researchers explores the intersection of conflict and economics in the sociological framework, and argues that a sociology-based understanding of conflict will provide a more nuanced and coherent understanding of social problems.
The article is based on a paper titled Conflict and the social sciences: A sociocultural perspective.
The authors are Dr David Auerbach and Professor Jonathan Vollman of the Department of Sociology at the University of Exeter.
The paper is published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.
The team was able to address some of the key questions raised in the paper:1.
What does conflict involve?2.
What is the relationship between conflict and economic outcomes?3.
How does economic conflict affect social life?
The authors argue that conflicts in sociology can be divided into three main categories: economic, social and institutional.
The first category is based around the idea that the conflict between the market and society is not a one-sided contest between good and bad.
In this view, there are many causes of conflict, and some causes of social conflict are external, such as environmental, cultural and technological.
They also think that social conflict is rooted in social structures.
These factors are complex and dynamic.
The second category focuses on social conflict as a response to the emergence of new forms of economic power.
In economic terms, this involves competition for resources and control over people’s lives, as well as economic competition between the rich and the poor.
The third category, which has been called ‘institutional’, refers to social conflict because of the role of institutions in maintaining social stability and protecting individuals.
The team also argues that there are multiple causes of institutional conflict.
These include structural, cultural, and ideological, and the ways in which those in power are able to control the environment.
The authors propose that sociological understanding of economic conflict will enable a sociological model to provide a coherent, and more nuanced, understanding of contemporary social problems, particularly in terms of economic theory.
The researchers also argue that this understanding will offer new ways of understanding how to tackle the conflict within sociology.
Auerbach said:In the context of the current economic crisis, the emergence in recent years of new theories such as the ‘economic violence hypothesis’ (e.g. Stolz, 2002; Stolze, 2004) and the ‘conflict over inequality’ (Stolz and D’Andrea, 2012) is a key area for further research.
The study argues that the relationship among economic theory, economic violence theory and social conflict theories is a crucial one, as the social and economic theories interact.
In this case, social conflict theory is focused on the interplay between market forces and social institutions, whereas economic theory focuses on the interaction between market and social structures, and it therefore does not offer a complete answer to how social conflict operates in society.
This interaction will require an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that underpin the relationship, such the dynamics of social structure, and what is happening within the social structure itself.
The ability to analyse the dynamics that underpin economic and social violence theories will be crucial in developing a coherent understanding.
As well as studying the link between social and market forces, the team is also interested in how social conflicts relate to other aspects of social life, such family structure, gender and sexuality, inter-group relations, and inter-ethnic relations.
The researchers say that understanding the social causes of conflicts will help us to better understand social problems such as conflict over the allocation of resources and inequality, and how the effects of conflict affect the functioning of social institutions and the structure of society.
They argue that a sociologists approach to social problems is particularly valuable in these fields as the knowledge gained through sociological approaches can be used to inform social policy and social policy responses.
Dr Auer, who is also the author of several books, said: The sociological view of conflict is becoming increasingly influential in the field of economics and sociology as new models of conflict are being developed.
This is a big step forward as there are no longer academic barriers to studying the interaction of the two.
This article originally appeared on The Conversation.