Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other subscribers

Who was Karl Marx and what was his theory of social conflict

Karl Marx was a famous politician and sociologist of Germany who was born in Rhine district of Germany on 5 May 1818. His parents were Jews who adopted Protestant religion to get rid of discrimination at the hands of the Christians. His father was a lawyer by profession and was influenced greatly by motivators of French revolution like Rousseau, Voltaire etc . Marx, right from the beginning was interested in study and with his intellect he was a scholar who presented scientific and successive study and which becomes a part of his later life.

Marx was sent to Bonn University for further studies after completing his school education in 1835 where he started studying law. During his study Marx was fascinated by the philosophy of Hegel at Berlin University. Hegel interpreted the whole history in such a process that led to humanity development to such a society that was emancipatory and discretionary. In the initial years of life, Marx called himself a young Hegalist whereas in later years of life, he discarded Hegel’s theory and stated that the brain was not the decisive force in history. During the age of Marx some of the critics state that Hegel was standing with his head down and Marx made him stand on his legs.

Contributions of Karl Marx

The first creation of Marx and his friend Frederick Hegel was ” The German Ideology 1867″ and his later work was “Capital 1867” Besides these Marx has written many books such as Communist Manifesto, The Poverty of Philosophy, The Civil War in France, Value Price and Profit, The Holy Family etc. Marx has written 3000 pages as books and journals which breathe conflict and struggle.

In the theory and book Poverty and Philosophy he has propounded the thought of social struggle and change. His theories were based on class struggle and class conflict.

In the theory of Marx, Man is the most important creature. He is the roof and crown of all creations and his grandeur is matchless. According to his theory, the man is caught between the chains of slavery and is crying with exploitation and oppression . It should be the first and foremost concept to emancipate him from the bondage.

That is why Marx principle is called emancipatory.

Conflict Theory

Marx gave the conflict theory. It is nothing but a plan and agenda to free man from chains of slavery. In his theory he has established that the fundamental basis of any society lies in its economic system. Secondly class conflict arises due to this economic system. He has further divided the society into classes. Which he beautifully defines that

“When lakh of families lead their lives in such economic situation that differentiates them from their life method, their motives and their cultures and alienates them from other groups and make them stand in rival fields. It is known as class”.

This becomes the basis of Conflict theory of Marx.

Conflict theory has following characteristics

1. There is continuous change in society and its various organs

Society is not static and its existence lies in living individuals. Also it is composed of various organs like economic system, political system  law, education etc. All these organs go on changing when there is change in one organ. Thus social change and conflict go hand in hand


2. Conflict is caused by internal or external processes in society

Some of the conflicts arise in society due to rivalry or controversy of internal processes. When woman become educated and become economically free and put up their demands. It is a type of internal conflict in society . Similarly communal riot, terrorism, corruption student and worker union movement are the illustrations of internal conflict. External conflicts are when a country or society ensures in a conflict with other country or society.

3. Conflict due to Authority

All conflicts are not similar. There can be conflict in family on division of property or struggle of owners and workers in factory or there may be conflict in different religions etc. Hence conflict is based on power and authority.

4. Conflict is inherent in structure of society

Society has a structure such that its people and groups has conflict inherent in them. People and groups go on doing conflict directly or indirectly to achieve their interests.

5. Society is not always in equilibrium

Sociologist disagree with the fact that society is always united and homogenous. There are pressures and conflicts in society along with stress and rebellions. So there must be conflict in every society .

6. Development Oriented Conflict

A new kind of conflict has been seen in countries of third world. There is conflict of technique and values when development projects take place in traditional countries.


%d bloggers like this: