Using Conflict Theory

Using Conflict Theory

Using Conflict Theory

Using Conflict Theory


From family feuds to labor strikes and international warfare, human conflict is an ever-present and universal social problem and the methods to manage it are a challenge for everyone, from average citizens to policymakers and social theorists. This study will educate students about how and why conflict erupts, and under what conditions it can be managed. It is a unique classroom book blending theory and practical application and the first to bridge the science of social theory and the art of practice for students.


In the twentieth century, knowledge about social conflict has increased considerably, but so has the technology and scope of violence. As the new millennium begins, conflict actors must learn not only how to deescalate destructive conflicts, but also how to utilize “constructive” conflicts: how to clarify their own goals; how to select conflict strategies and tactics rationally; and how to apply them to achieve their goals while minimizing the costs.

The Development of Conflict Knowledge

Homo sapiens has been learning about conflict throughout its development. That knowledge is spread across humanity, residing wherever humans live, work, and play. It is folk knowledge, used continuously in everyday life – in commerce, family relations, government, sport, child rearing. The ways of dealing with human conflict around the world are legion. They are passed down from parent to child, from generation to generation. They are transmitted from one life experience to the next. That knowledge is created within generations, as humans learn better how to interact with minimal cost. We do this pretty much unconsciously. Handling conflict is simply one of the life skills we learn and practice. Some of us do it better than others.

Particularly in the twentieth century we have become more conscious of how to understand conflict and how to deal with it in . . .

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