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Vivian Hy
Emily Prior
Sociology 1
28 June 2014
The Hunger Games: The Conflict Paradigm
The main concept of The Hunger Games is based on a dystopian future where
their nation, Panem, is divided into 12 districts and their leading elite, the Capitol. Every
year, two representatives are chosen at random from each district to take part in The
Hunger Games, where all participants (tributes) from every district are forced to battle it
out until there is one winner standing. Katniss, the main character, volunteers as tribute
for her sister, and in the end, she stands out on top with her partner, Peeta.
The actual scene I am focusing on is the moment Katniss and Peeta enter the
Capitol. You can already see the huge transition from the districts to the Capitol. These
people are extremely energetic, colorful, and very exotic looking. This is the main
distinction between the wealthy and the poor. Also, when Katniss walks into the train,
she observes all of the desserts and how lavish the train is. She isnt used to all of these
things since she is from the poorest district where everyone is a worker or famer, and this
is when she realizes that all of the work done by the districts is given to the Capitol for
their wealth.
As three of the some of the most important figures in sociology, August Comte,
Emile Durkheim, and Karl Marx would have different perspectives on this particular
film. First of all, Comte, father of sociology, was the originator of positivism where he
believed that humans can be studied scientifically and that only scientific knowledge held
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the truth. Positivism also meant that people can go through a shift where they become
less selfish, making the world a more positive place. This is clear in the relationship
between Katniss and Peeta at the end of the film where they didnt just look out for
themselves, but they looked out for each other. She had his back, while he had her back.
Comte would point out that this act of altruism is something that would make the world a
better place. Emile Durkheim would look at the teamwork of Katniss and Peeta, as they
work together to defeat all of the other participants in the Hunger Games. Without each
other, one or both of them would have been killed. They needed their combined effort
and intellects to beat out all of the others. Durkheim was a main contributor to the
functionalist perspective, as he believed that all parts of a society contribute and work
together to create stability. Karl Marx, main contributor of the conflict perspective,
believed that the focus of society is through the struggles and competitions between
individuals over resources. He emphasized his ideas on the distributions of wealth and
power. Regarding this film, Marx would focus on the Capitols wealth and power versus
the poor districts. He would look at the selfish Capitol, as they rule over life and death in
the actual Hunger Games, and how they take advantage of their own power and flaunt it
over the districts.
The actual paradigm that is most represented in this particular film is the conflict
theory. First of all, their nation is divided into the 12 districts and the Capitol. The
poorest districts arent given much to eat and dont have as many resources as the other,
wealthier districts to live on. On the other hand, the Capitol holds all of the power and
wealth. They are the ones who decide how much to give to the districts and how wealth is
distributed amongst everyone. They use the wealth of resources collected from the
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districts almost exclusively for themselves to indulge in a lavish lifestyle, while all of the
other districts have people dying everyday. The Capitol basically controls the production
of resources, providing themselves with excess wealth that they do not need. Everyone in
the Capitol has exotic clothes and accessories of all colors, while the people in the
districts wear dull colors, mainly grey. The Capitol is the elite ruling power over all of the
districts, as they decide who lives and who dies in the actual Hunger Games. They use
their power to force one boy and one girl from each district to fight in the Hunger Games,
as they sacrifice their lives as tributes. For example, as Katniss and Peeta are the
surviving two in the end, the Capitol decides not to follow through on their word,
exhibiting absolute power. Yet as Katniss and Peeta intimidate the Capitol by threatening
to commit suicide as an act of defiance, the Capitol begins to fear that this will cause a
revolt in the districts and they give in, selfishly worried about themselves. This is a prime
example of social inequality, as the Capitol holds all power.