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Conflict theory is presented by Karl Marx, which is a very important framework in the sociology and is considered third in number in the sociological framework. It contrasts from the functional theory, which holds the idea of a society as a unit at peace. Conflict theory, on the other hand, considers society as a power struggle between the groups that are involved in conflict due to the limitation of resources. Conflict theorists hold the view like Karl Marx that generally there are two categories of people in the societies living in an industrial environment: the capitalist/ruling class and the working class(Carter, 2014).
The ruling class or capitalists consists of the people in the position of power and wealth who own production means or access control to the production means. While the working class includes those beings that hold relatively powerless attributes and they sell their labor or work to the ruling class. Therefore it is in the benefit of the ruling class to keep the working class in the relative position of disadvantage in order to maintain their control and their position of privilege.
Marx did not write himself about the behavior of deviance particularly, but he in his work has discussed the proletariat alienation, as well as alienation between the finished product and the proletariat(Lijphart, 2000). He asserts that it is the main reason for the conflict and thus causes deviant behavior. Alienation is the result of systematically living in the stratified social society because if one becomes the part of this social class, it alienates them from their humanity. In a society of capitalism, the alienation of the worker from their humanity is caused because they can only illustrate their labor. It is, therefore, a social fundamental aspect of the individuality of a person, through a system owned privately of production from an industrial source in which workers are mere instruments, not persons. Marx uses the term lumpenproletariat in order to describe the working class layers, who are unlikely to achieve the consciousness of a class, lost to useful production socially, and, therefore, is of negligible use in the struggle of revolution or an impediment actually to the classless society realization.
Carter, B. (2014). Capitalism, Class Conflict and the New Middle Class (RLE Social Theory). Routledge.
Lijphart, A. (2000). Political theories and the explanation of ethnic conflict in the western world: falsified predictions and plausible postdictions. Nationalism: Critical Concepts in Political Science, 2, 707.
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