Sample Sociology Essay Summary About C. Wright Mills and Conflict Perspective

About C. Wright Mills and Conflict Perspective

Conflict theories assert that competition between groups of people with different power levels. The competition usually comes about due to resource scarcity. The more powerful people desire to protect their statuses as well as for self benefit. The main source of conflict is based on the need for influence. Conventional conflict theories are focused on gender, racial and social disparities as the origins of conflict. The contemporary theories compare favorably with the works of C. Wright Mills, a philosopher who focused on conflict theories.

The philosopher claims that conflicts arise because only a few people control nations. The few are reported to be at the helm of government and military control. The only way Mills suggests can help in this scenario is for philosophers to be engaged in social reforms. A Texas born scholar, C. Write Mills studied in Texas University and did his PhD in Wisconsin Madison University. Write worked in various capacities on appointment until his death in 1962.

From the perspective proposed by Mills, the role of social class, diminishing middle class and elite power on conflict origination. Using his book, ‘The sociological Imagination,’ Wright showed that the imagination comprised of social structure, history and biography as the key components (Hayden 29). As such, individuals possessing sociological imagination are capable of looking beyond individuality to espouse the societal views. The ability to connect individualism to the collective capacity can help in conflict resolution (Mills 3). From Mills’ work, it is shown that the human person can only be understood through once the history and the social structure around the individual have been understood. The nation – state depends on the chronological and social constructs to create human character. Therefore, the nation -state is a man- making phenomenon.

Other philosophers have other opinions regarding conflicts. For example, it has been proposed that the original conflict theories were developed by Karl Marx and only advanced by C. Wright Mills. According to Vahed (6), conflicts arise due to conflicting interests harbored by people in the world. Competition for scarce resources such as power and influence results in conflicts. In conflicts, some of the groups appear more dominant than others. The dominant groups control all or most of the societal constructs. As such, the societal structures serve the interests of the dominant group more than those of others. The dominant group intends to use the societal resources for their own benefits. This is what creates conflicts in the society. From the view point of conflict theorists, the presence of dominance and oppression creates minority and majority groups in nations.

Conflict theories connect social problems to exploitation by some members of the society. The implication of such theories is that nations have to pass through periods of conflict and stability. Mills is of the idea that conflicts only exist as long as people do not make right decisions about the level of dominance to accept. Mills makes an effort to distinguish between masses and the elite. He reports that the elite enjoy power and authority. Based on the proposals made by Mills, it can therefore be concluded that he is a contemporary conflict theorist. Moreover, his theories are in support of Karl Marx and are thus applicable in modern day academic context. Although Mills recognizes conflict as indispensable aspect of society, he says it should not be ignored. The causes of conflict are identified as unequal distribution of resources.

Works Cited

Hayden, Tom. Radical Nomad: C. Wright Mills and His Times. Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, 1-4, 2007.

Mills, C. Wright. The Structure of Power in American Society. The British Journal of Sociology, 9.1: 29-41, 1958.

Vahabi, Mehrdad. A Critical Review of Strategic Conflict Theory and Socio-Political Instability Models. A Paraitre dans Revue d’Economic Politique, 119.6: 1-39, 2009.

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