Applying Ralf Dahrendorf's Conflict Theory to Pusuit of Happiness Essay

Applying Ralf Dahrendorf's Conflict Theory to Pusuit of Happiness Essay

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Conflict theory is a perspective that emphasizes the social, political, or material inequality of a particular social group. Conflict theory attempts to highlight the ideological aspects inherent in traditional thought, and while these different perspectives hold parallels, conflict theory does not have a unified school of thought on these theories. Conflict theorists see where groups fight for power, and the control of conflict means that one group is able, at least temporarily; to suppress the opposition therefore the emphasis is the shifting balance of power among competing groups.
`Within the general conflict direction there are three essential assumptions. The first is that individuals within a society have several basic interests that they want and attempt to acquire that is not defined by the societies they live in and are common to everyone living there. The second, and the main component to the conflict perspective, is a priority on power as the central to all relationships. While conflict theorists see power as unequally divided among people and groups they also see it as scarce. Because of this, the power becomes a source of conflict but at the same time this power is coercive. As a result, there is a concern with the allocation of resources that would give some people more power than others. Finally, the third feature of conflict theory is that values and ideas are seen as a weapon that can be used by different groups to attain what they want rather than achieving what is best for the group.
Within conflict theory there are those who are analytical conflict theorists. Ralf Dahrendorf is grouped into this category. Dahrendorf argues that there is an inherent tendency to have conflict in our society, hence groups wit...


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...orms for that society.
In conclusion Ralf Dahrendorf’s theory of society demonstrates how there is an inherent conflict within each society and that the power struggle may shift at anytime throughout history as dynamics such as economics and politics change. In the Pursuit of Happyness, we see the three Dahrendorf’s theory of society play out as conflict in Chris’s life as he continues to shift as life changes occur. We also see the social differentiation of positions and the social stratification based of the wealth of the Wall Street and the lowly job that Chris holds being a salesmen with only a high school diploma. We see that the Wall Street workers are more respected, whereas someone like Chris, who only sales medical machines is not necessarily looked upon highly in society. What we can derive from his theory is that power is always the central concept.


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