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CONFLICT IS INEVITABLE PHENOMENON IN ANY HUMAN SOCIETY. DO YOU AGREE?

BY

KAYODE OLADIPUPO OLAYEMI


CEO, COMPUTER PALACE INSTITUTE, DISSERTATION RESOURCES CENTRE LOCATED IN THE POLYTECHNIC, IBADAN

OYO STATE, IBADAN

INTRODUCTION

According to Ikeda et al. (2005) the word CONFLICT can be said to be disagreement among members of a society. Conflict simply connotes a state of disequilibrium between two parties, groups, section or between the employers and the employees in an organisation. Conflict is an important concept that is central to understanding and appreciation of mans exchange with reality of human action. It can be viewed as a philosophical concept denoting the clash of power against power in the striving of all things to become manifest or it can be described as the distinct category of social behaviour as two party trying to get something they both cannot have. (Rummel, 1976)

Brewer (2002) Feelings of injustice or deprivation give rise to conflict. These feelings may have some real basis or it may be only because of some false or imaginary ideas. Some times false ego gives rise to conflict. Conflicts are also created or imposed upon by interested persons or groups for some ulterior motive to make some gain out of it. In a democratic country political conflicts will always be there and these are not discouraging if they do not result in violence or go against the interest of the people. In a multi-racial, multireligious, multi-cultural country like India there is always a challenge on ethnic, communal or cultural issues creating conflicts. The contradiction between the privileged and deprived sections of the people, educated and illiterate people, people of higher caste and lower caste within the same religion, social discrimination between men and women, trend of political subjugation of a small section of the population are the major sources of origin of conflict. In intercountry relations economic, political or military domination of strong countries over weak countries often result in conflicts.
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Brewer (2002) Conflict theory suggests that human behaviour in social contexts results from conflicts between competing groups. Conflict theory originated with the work of Karl Marx in the mid-1800s. Marx understood human society in terms of conflict between social classes, notably the conflict in capitalist societies between those who owned the means of economic production (factory or farm owners, for example) and those who did not (the workers). Subsequent thinkers have described different versions of conflict theory; a common theme is that different social groups have unequal power, though all groups struggle for the same limited resources. Conflict theory has been used to explain diverse human behaviour, such as educational practices that either sustain or challenge the status quo, cultural customs regarding the elderly, and criminal behaviour. CONFLICT IS INEVITABLE PHENOMENON IN ANY SOCIETY. Duke, (1999) opined that Yes, I do agree with the above statement that conflict is inevitable phenomenon in any human society. There is conflict in all human societies, and all societies have systems for regulating it. Conflict between people or groups often arises from competition for resources, power, and status. Family members compete for attention. Individuals compete for jobs and wealth. Nations compete for territory and prestige. Different interest groups compete for influence and the power to make rules. Often the competition is not for resources but for ideasone person or group wants to have the ideas or behaviour of another group suppressed, punished, or declared illegal. According to Robinsons (1999) Social change can be potent in evoking conflict. Rarely if ever is a proposed social, economic, or political change likely to benefit every component of a social system equally, and so the groups that see

themselves as possible losers resist. Mutual animosities and suspicions are


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aggravated by the inability of both proponents and opponents of any change to predict convincingly what all of the effects will be of making the change or of not making it. Conflict is particularly acute when only a few alternatives exist with no compromise possiblefor example, between surrender and war or between candidate A and candidate B. Even though the issues may be complex and people may not be initially very far apart in their perceptions, the need to decide one way or the other can drive people into extreme positions to support their decision as to which alternative is preferable. (Duke, 1999) Imazai (2003) 0bserved that in family groups and small societies, laws are laid down by recognized authorities, such as parents or elders. But almost all groups from university faculties to local scout troopshave formalized procedures for making rules and arbitrating disputes. On a larger scale, government provides mechanisms for dealing with conflict by making laws and administering them. In a democracy, the political system arbitrates social conflict by means of elections. Candidates for office advertise their intentions to make and modify rules, and people vote for whoever they believe has the best combination of intentions and the best chances of effectively carrying them out. But the need to make complex social trade-offs tends to prevent politicians from accomplishing all of their intentions when in office. Jungs (2003) claims that the desire for complete freedom to come and go as one pleases, carry weapons, and organize demonstrations may conflict with a desire for public security. The desire for resolute, efficient decision makingin the extreme, a dictatorshipmay conflict with a desire for public participationin the extreme, a democracy in which everyone votes on everything. The creation of laws and policies typically involves elaborate compromises negotiated among

diverse interest groups. Small groups of people with special interests that they consider very important may be able to persuade their members to vote on the basis of that single issue and thereby demand concessions from a more diffuse majority. Even when the majority of the people in a society agree on a social decision, the minority who disagree may have some protection. In the U.S. political system, for example, federal and state governments have constitutions that establish rights for citizens that cannot be changed by elected officials no matter how large a majority supports those officials. Changes in those constitutions usually require super majorities, of two-thirds or three-quarters of all voters, rather than just greater than one-half. One strategy for political minorities is to join forces, at least temporarily, with other small groups that have partly similar interests. A coalition of small minorities may be able to exert considerable influence. A coalition of minorities may even become a majority, as long as their common interests outweigh their differences. A similar protection of political rights is provided by the two-house system in the federal legislature and in most state legislatures. In Congress, for instance, the lower house has representation in proportion to population, so that every citizen in the country is equally represented. However, the upper house has exactly two members from every state, regardless of its populationthereby ensuring that the citizens of any state, however tiny, have the same representation as those of any other state, however large. In addition, societies have developed many informal ways of airing conflict,

including debates, strikes, demonstrations, polls, advertisements, and even plays, songs, and cartoons. The mass media provide the free means for (and may even encourage) small groups of people with a grievance to make highly visible public statements. Any of these ways and means may either release tensions and promote compromise or inflame and further polarize differences. The failure to resolve or to moderate conflicts leads to tremendous stress on the social system. Inability or unwillingness to change may result in a higher level of conflict: lawsuits, sabotage, violence, or full-scale revolutions or wars. Intergroup conflict, lawful or otherwise, does not necessarily end when one segment of society finally manages to effect a decision in its favour. The resisting groups may then launch efforts to reverse, modify, or circumvent the change, and so the conflict persists. Conflict can, however, also solidify group action; both nations and families tend to be more unified during times of crisis. Sometimes group leaders use this knowledge deliberately to provoke conflict with an outside group, thus reducing tensions and consolidating support within their own group.

CONCLUSION

In a human society conflicts will always be there between individuals, between groups, between nations because of differences of opinion, clash of interest, establishment of superiority and various other factors. There is theory of thesis and anti-thesis. Conflicts help in material and intellectual advancement. Economic deprivation and social subjugation are the basic causes of conflicts in human society.

Pondy (1999) opined that in the study of history of human civilisation it is found that there was a continuous trend of torturing the weak by more powerful individuals or groups, exploitation of the poor by the rich and landed people, hatred of the upper caste people on the lower caste people, neglect of the illiterate people by the educated people, socially over powering women by men and such other injustices. Such social injustices are constant source of discontent giving rise to conflicts. Instead of solving those conflicts they were always suppressed. In progress of civilisation and development of humanistic attitude, people are now gradually getting more and more concerned with Human Rights that demand social justice to all sections of the society. Every human being must be provided with their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, access to education and health care and freedom.

Kurma (1995) observed that naturally this wide discrimination is a constant source of discontent and conflicts. Also in the global context there is sharp contrast between the rich and poor countries. A reasonable economic order
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through equitable distribution of wealth among different nations and more particularly among the people of the same country is very much needed to avoid conflicts and clashes. This is the biggest challenge faced by the human society. Keeping aside these basic facts, only slogan for 'peace' can not change the society. In education along with spreading ideas of universal love and tolerance and importance of maintenance of peace for sustaining human development, there should be sufficient provision to make the students conscious about denouncing such extreme inequality in distribution of wealth. A mindset will be prepared that will help in developing a society where equitable distribution of wealth will be given due emphasis. Proper concept of human welfare should be cultivated through education. A humanistic education covering various aspects responsible for creating social discontents giving rise to conflicts and emphasizing on maintaining peace in resolution of conflicts, will create a society worth living.

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