In the realm of education, conflict theory essentially deals with sociological aspects of gaining control through tried and tested applications. The central importance of this theory is best justified by the social class model that functions on a hierarchical basis, i. e., people who occupy a superior position in society are given more priority over those who are underprivileged. While the class conflict is a fundamental one, there are other types as well, the notable ones being gender, race and culture, religion and area. Inequality in educational structures leads to varied outcomes as students move up the ladder of higher education.
Conflict theory becomes relevant not in the context of physical, social, linguistic and cognitive skills of pupils, but in matters of their economic backgrounds. Prevailing political ideologies of a state exercise a significant amount of influence as well, for the education system in most countries including the US is dictated by governmental interferences. This paper is going to critically analyze the conflict theory with regards to education.
It goes without saying that education is the backbone of modern society. In an age of extremely volatile global economy, education provides an entry level pass into the professional world. Now, this entire business of education starts from the school level. The sociology of effective schooling has continued to be a matter of contention in experts’ fraternity.
The educational framework in the United States of America consists of five primal operative features: “socialization, a unifying and disciplinary force in a society of diverse origins; sorting, identifying people’s future socioeconomic roles; custody, the childsitting function; knowledge and skills training, developing a literate popular, with at least a minimum of job-related skills and encouragement of such individual attributes as creativity and self-reliance”. (Cheng 7) These functions are likely to offer a prospective resolution for class-based conflicts in the school education system, enabling students to acquire knowledge; sharpen their skills and develop healthy attitudes.
The root of social conflicts is submerged in the shallow depth of evolution that fails to rationalize inequality and political authority. Democracy often exercises its power machineries to deny people their rights to rule and demand for equality of opportunity. (Levinson et al. 111) Understanding the sociology of education is arguably the first step towards settling the disputes regarding educational inequality. It might be noted that educational imbalances often present a dilemma to implement the five primal operative features mentioned earlier.
This discipline attempts to strike a uniform approach with regards to theoretical, methodological and case study-based processes, and paves the path for critical analysis of conflict theory. “As with any body of knowledge, the sociology of education is in a constant state of flux as a growing ensemble of empirical and theoretical research continually modifies its contours.” (Levinson et al. 3)
To resolve the differences among an assortment of educational theories, the idea of peace education was realized in the United States early in the 1980s. Conflict resolution education became the governing constitute of peace education. The methodologies applied in this form of education seek to nullify the ill-effects of political or social mismanagement in education sectors. It also attempts to appease the disciplinal issues that run rampant in many academic institutes in the United States of America. University programs on conflict resolution focus on practical skills and situation oriented dispute settlement. (Moon et al. 412)
The class battle in education is a longstanding one, affecting mainly the families with lower income level. Children hailing from such families constantly face difficulties not just in terms of inadequacy of financial support, but also due to cultural and religious discriminations. Scholars who seek to provide a solution to conflict theory take into account all these practical aspects before preparing feasible methodologies. (Mega Essays.com 2001-2009)
Conducting research on conflict theory requires formal reasoning as well as approaching the matter with mathematical understanding. More than considering just the basic constructs, it is imperative to look into situation-specific parameters. Accordingly, research works may be conducted by following decision theory, differential equations, bargaining theory, stability theory, action-reaction models and organizational theories. (Intriligator 307-327) Only a careful and well-planned approach / set of approaches may bring a bright future that will lead students, regardless of their class standing, to earn while they learn.
Intriligator, Michael D. “Research on Conflict Theory.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 26/2 (1982): 307-327.
Cheng, Yin Cheong. School Effectiveness and School-based Management: A Mechanism for Development. Madison Avenue: Routledge, 1996.
Moon, Bob, and Miriam Ben-Peretz, and Sally Brown. Routledge International Companion to Education. Milton Park: Taylor & Francis, 2000.
Levinson, David, and Peter W. Cookson, and Alan R. Sadovnik. Education and Sociology: An Encyclopedia. Milton Park: Taylor & Francis, 2002.
Mega Essays.com. “bla.” 2001-2009. 1 March 2009 <http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/50787.html>