The Sociology of Social Conflicts

The Sociology of Social Conflicts

The Sociology of Social Conflicts

The Sociology of Social Conflicts

Excerpt

As a teacher of social conflicts and as a partisan and observer of them, I have long felt the need for a comprehensive study of conflicts. I felt it was necessary to bring together the main ideas pertaining to each aspect of a struggle or, better yet, to consistently relate these ideas. This might mean disproving some, reinterpreting others, and specifying and synthesizing still others.

I have tried to meet these needs in this book by presenting a comprehensive analysis of all kinds of group conflicts. Instead of describing certain kinds of conflicts or particular aspects of struggles, this book provides a framework for analyzing all kinds of disputes, struggles, fights, and contentions. The framework is relevant for conflicts between groups in organizations, communities, societies, and even between national governments. For illustrative purposes, the discussion focuses upon some recent struggles: women's liberation, the cold war, the Arab-Israeli conflict, collective bargaining, student protests, and the fight for racial equality.

In presenting a comprehensive framework, I hope to raise important and neglected questions. We shall ask about de-escalation as well as escalation, outcomes as well as bases, and noncoercive as well as coercive means of conducting struggles. We will ask why fights differ in consequences, in origins, and in violence.

In answering these questions I have tried to be systematic and specific. Nevertheless, competing ideas and interpretations have not been ex-

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