Coser, Simmel, Dahrendorf

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L.A. Coser:


American sociologist Lewis A. Koser was influenced by the ideas of German sociologist Georg Simmel. Koser, in his book “Function of Social Conflict” (1955), made some proposals on various aspects of conflict. In fact, these proposals are hypothetical in nature. He has focused his proposals on five aspects of conflict.


1. resolutions relating to causes of conflict

2 . resolutions relating to the period of conflict

3. Violent conflict resolution

4. The usefulness of the struggle for the group

5. Functions of Conflict on the Whole Society



Proposals related to the causes of conflict: In response to why conflict occurs, Kozar has mainly made two proposals.

1. First, when a large number of subordinate members protest on the issue of inequality and if the inequality is not given legitimacy, then the struggle starts.

2. Second, when the limited lack of subordinates becomes the allegation of the absence of ordinary subordinates, the conflict becomes widespread. This means that when the poverty and tragedy of some people become the tragedy of common people’s life, then the conflict becomes relative.



Giving the definition of conflict, Koser has written “When there is some kind of authority, principle, means in the society and for this opposition they attack each other violently or both reach a conclusion.” Clearly conflict is a social process. Under which the person or group threatens the opponent with violence or takes actual violent action in order to fulfill his goal.

Functions of Conflict: The following is a discussion of the functions or changes of Kojar’s struggle.

1. If the groups are in conflict situation, the mutual relations of the members of each group increase and collective consciousness develops. As a result of this consciousness, the internal unity of the group increases and the organization gets stronger.

2. If two semi-groups are in conflict, the boundary between the two becomes clear.

3. If there is a lack of leader in the group or the leadership is weak, then in case of conflict with another group, change of leadership is done to strengthen the group and the leadership is made strong.

4. There is a change in the ideal model and values ​​of both, due to which new ideal model comes which is beneficial for the group.

5. Due to the conflict between two groups, the conflicts within their group end, which has to change the probability distribution and the tasks are distributed in a new way. Therefore, a new structure emerges as a result of conflict, which encourages social change.


Criticism: L. Chonsky and Osipov have criticized Koser saying that conflict always proves to be destructive of the system.





George Simmel:


Georg Simmel and Karl Marx are prominent among the major conflict theorists of the 19th century. But there is a difference of opinion between these two. Where according to Simmel the struggle is for the social order. Not only disruptive but beneficial to the social system and strengthens the system. According to Karl Marx, struggle changes the society, Simmel says that not every struggle changes the society.

According to Simmel there are two causes of conflict.


1. Conflicting basic instincts of the individual and

2. Types of Social Relations.

Both these elements make conflict a necessary event.


Variations of Conflict:


1.Amount of regulation in the society

2. the amount of conflict directly and

3. Amount of Intensity in the Conflicting Sides

When the amount of regulation in the society is high, the conflict will become a competition and the organization will be strong.

Will it? If there is more violence in the society, then the organization will decrease.


Theoretical formulas of struggle – The following are the theoretical formulas of Simmel’s struggle-


1. The more emotional attachment the conflicting parties have in the struggle, the more intense the struggle will be.

2 . The more organized the fighting parties are in the course of the struggle, the more passionately they will behave in the conflict.

3. The more the members of the fighting party sacrifice their personal interests, the more passionately they will behave in the struggle.

4. If the struggle is used as a means for the fulfillment of some objective, then the struggle will be less intense. Simmel’s theoretical explanation states that once the goal of the struggle is clear, the fighting parties see how the goal will be achieved at the least cost. At least the cost means that the alternative to violence and intensity will not be chosen through conflict.





Consequences or Functions of Conflict – According to Simmel, the result of conflict falls on the conflicting party and the whole society. The results of the conflict can be summed up as follows.


1. As a result of the struggle, the unity of the conflicting parties increases.

2. When the struggling parties make efforts by getting organized, the amount of intense struggle decreases. This happens because only by the threat of the organized party, the goal would have been achieved more quickly. There is no conflict or violence, due to which social integration increases. Marx has more expression. The opinion is to the contrary that organizing parties leads to polarization of conflict and more violent expression.

3. The more intense the struggle of the conflicting parties, the more organized the organization and internal system of those parties will be.

4. The less organized the fighting parties are, and if the amount of conflict is intense then the tendency of dictatorship will increase among the parties.

5. If the conflict will be intense. And if there are struggling lotes or minorities, then internal unity will increase among them.

6. When the struggling party fights for self-defense, it will have organization and unity. It is clear to compare Simmel’s ideas with Marx’s ideas that Marx considers the inevitable phenomenon of social struggle, while Simmel gives importance to both cooperative and non-cooperative tendencies. According to Marx, society changes by struggle whereas Simmel says that every struggle does not bring change.





Changes from Conflict:


1. Unity

2 . organized struggle

3. Intense conflict and

4. propensity for tyranny



Ralph Dehrendorf:


German sociologist Ralf Dehrendorf, born in 1929, is an indigenous of Marx. Like Marx, he also explains the conflict theory as the basis of the dialectical plan, but on other issues of struggle, there are deep differences in their views. He has explained conflict theory in his book “Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society” in 1959 and “Todis’ General Theory of Sociology”. He extended his theory to modern industrial societies of Europe and America. Dehrendorf has said that any social system has two aspects-


1.consensus and

2. Conflict


Other functionalists, including Parsons, have shed much light on the consensual side, while the other side of society has neglected conflict.

In his theory, Dehrendorf has included the dialectical process from Marx and the concept of power and power from Weber. Turner named the dialectical conflict theory of Dehrendorff’s theory. Dialectical because in any society the conflict goes on continuously between two classes.

According to Dehrendorf, the basis of class formation is power and authority. Due to the unequal division of power and authority, there are two classes in the society-


1. The oppressive or powerful class and

2. Repressed or powerless class.


The oppressive class is those who hold power and want status quoism. The oppressed class is the one who lacks power and authority and those who are ruled. They are always trying to redistribute the power.

According to Dehrendorff, any small group may refer to a formal organization or a community or a society as a whole. He says that in any order-oriented integrated society, there is not only an unequal distribution of power and authority, but It keeps on going on it. As a result of this struggle, the powerless class defeats the powerful class and attains persecution. In this way social change takes place.

In his book “Class and Class Conflict”, he has given the following propositions about conflict:

1. The more consciousness the people of any orderly coordinated society have about the real society, the more likely they are to struggle.

2. The needs of more technical, political and social conditions. The fulfillment will be in the organization, the more intense the conflict will be.

3. The lesser the mobility among the oppressed and oppressed groups, the greater will be.

4. The deeper, intense and violent the conflict, the greater the social change will happen.


Criticism: RK Merton and Amitai Itzioni say that they have given too much importance to the process of struggle in society and the role of cooperation has been ignored.

Coser believes that he has not discussed the contributions of conflict that strengthen social status.



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