The conflict theory, which derived its assertions from the ideas of Karl Marx in the mid of 1800s, considers the social life as a competition while focusing on the distribution of power, resources and inequality. According to this social theoretical perspective, the human behavior results from the conflicts between competing groups. He considered the human society as related to conflict between the social classes, majorly in the capitalist societies between the owners of the factors of production and the servants (Stolley, 2005). Other sociologists have also described this theory in the context that separate groups in the society have unequal power despite struggling for the same resources (Stolley, 2005).
This theory explains the role of power and coercion in the production of social order. The different groups in the society always struggle for limited resources. Domination always maintained social order. The people with political power, social and economic resources have power and control over the societal resources. This theory further explains that people might at times become united around a common goal in opposition of the dominant groups.
According to this theory, the societal imbalance exists since groups with the huge shares of the societal resources always defend their advantages. The struggles arising according to this theory pay much attention to race, class, and gender since they are considered the causes of societal struggles. Additionally, Karl Marx believed that the society is a dynamic entity that constantly undergoes change that is class-conflict driven (Stolley, 2005).
After considering this social theoretical perspective, I have found the answer to the question, “Who benefits mostly from the current United States Higher education system?” Any person, who has been following the trends in the current education system in the United States, and having considered the assertions of this theory, would conclude that the wealthy benefit more in the system. I am consistent with this argument. The higher education in the United States, especially in the reputable institutions is not only paid for, but also expensive that only the students from the wealthy families can comfortable attend them. This system screens out poor students who are academically competitive, but cannot afford these expensive fees. Consequently, the students from the richer families get better education and consequently better paying jobs compared to their poorer counterparts. In my opinion, especially after considering the conflict theory, the current higher education system is designed by the rich property owners to ensure that the poor members of the society remain poorer and serve them as they flourish. This has always resulted in societal conflicts, where the poor combine efforts in order to fight against the enslaving activities of the poor. Additionally, this explains social order where class distinguishes the poor and the rich.
This refers to the tendency of believing that one’s cultural or ethnic group is inherently superior and that all other such social groups are measured in relation to the former (Kornblum, 2011). The ethnographic person would always judge other languages, customs, behavior, and religion relative to his or her own ethnic group (Kornblum, 2011). These differences are important in defining the uniqueness of each cultural and ethnic identity. It is the major cause of divisions amongst societal members of different races, ethnicities, and religion. This view has helped me understand the reason behind the African American and Whites’ differences that were coined by their heritage. It explains the racism and prejudice in the American society, where blacks are considered inferior and crime oriented, and Muslims considered terrorists.
This refers to the notion that all the customs, beliefs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context (Kornblum, 2011). This idea regards values, beliefs and practices of a culture from the considerations of the culture. This sociological concept recognizes the fact that the things that are considered valued, true and accepted in one culture might not be the same in another culture. This has helped in reducing arrogance and rigidity towards other cultures. Unlike ethnocentrism, this concept has assisted me in understanding the and avoiding cultural bias while conducting research in diverse cultures. Additionally, it has shaped my judgment of other cultural standards and morality.
Social Construction of Reality
This sociological concept explains the theory that the way human beings present themselves to others is shaped partly by their interactions with other people, and through their life experiences (Kornblum, 2011). The way people are raised and the things that they are raised up to believe affect the ways in which they present themselves, their perception about other people, and how the other people perceive them in return. Precisely, beliefs and backgrounds shape an individual’s perception of reality. Additionally, reality depends on the ideas that are socially accepted. This sociological concepts explains a scenario, where a minimum wage worker does not understand why a reach man would buy food for his pet, which is equivalent to the worker’s salary. According to the rich man, he is satisfied for taking care of his pet dog. However, according to the worker, the rich man lacks any concept of reality.
Kornblum W. (2011). Sociology in a Changing World. Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.: Cengage Learning.
Stolley S. K. (2005). The Basics of Sociology. ABC-Clio e-book: Basics of the Social Sciences. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.