Social Conflict And Its Effects On Society

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Social conflict is as old as human history (Ho-Won Jeong, 2008), it’s dynamics, process and solution has been a subject of inquiry among early thinkers—Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau etc. Concived by Coser (1968) as “struggle over values or claims to status, power, and scarce resources, in which the aim of the conflicting parties are not only to gain the desired values, but also to neutralize, injure, or eliminate their rivals” (cited in Onyia 2005, p. 17). Efforts at understanding causes and dynamics of social conflict have yielded various typologies. While some of which—corelate of war (COW)—focused on inter-state related wars, thus defined conflict as “involving at least one member of intersate system on each side of the war, resulting in a total of 1,000 battle-deaths per year” (Singer and Small, 1972, 381-2; cited in Oliver Ramsbotham et al, 2008, p. 56); the AKUF work group perceives it as “a result of the new forms of production, monetarization of the economy and the resulting desolution of traditional forms of social integrations” (Wallensteen, 2002b; cited in Oliver Ramsbotham et al, 2008, p. 57). Ramsbothan et al (2008) decomposed various typologies (as they are numerous) into three categories: ‘Non-interstate conflict’ which refers to all forms non classic wars between two states; ‘factional conflicts’ that covers military coups d’etat, brigandage, intra-elite power struggles, criminality and warlordism, aimed to usurp power, size, or retain state power for economic gains; and ‘revolutionary/ideology conflicts’ often geared towards changing the nature of government in a state (Ramsbotham et al, 2008). These classifications notwithstanding, clear insight on the determinants of conflict remains a challenge due i... ... middle of paper ... ...t association, its merit in the case of Nigeria has some shortfalls. Likewise, in his study of the conflicts in Africa Copson (1991) also concluded that there exist a very high association between poverty and conflict. In the case of Sudan, his inquiry revealed that disparity in the poverty levels between the regions (North and South), with sustained poverty in the South, coupled with the feelings among people of the region that the central government based in the North is exploiting the resources of their region without any meaningful return to the region are at the root of outbreak of conflict in 1983 (cited in Draman, 2003). He therefore argue that people join rebel groups because they hope to obtain food, shelter, clothing, and perhaps opportunity for recognition, all of which are conspicuously not available to them in the farming villages, and/or city slums.
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