ethnic studies - The basic premise underlying this approach...

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The basic premise underlying this approach is that society is made up of groups with conflicting self interests. Assumptions: 1.Conflict is built into society; that is, societies naturally tend toward conflict because wealth and power are limited or scarce resources and are distributed unequally. Therefore, different social groups have different and conflicting self interests2.Because competing interest groups have unequal power, one group usually becomesdominant. This group uses its power so that most aspects of the social structure operate in a way that serves its interest. As a result, this group (usually a small percentage of the entire population) controls a vastly disappropriate share of such scarce resources as wealth and social status.3.When consensus does appear in the society, it is artificial and unlikely to persist over the long run. The usual cause of apparent consensus are either coercionand repression of disadvantaged groups by the dominant groupor an acceptance bydisadvantaged groups of ideologies not in their self interest. The latter occurs because dominant groups exert disproportionate control over information and the media. In either case, the consensus lacks a fundamental stability and is unlikely to persist over the longer run.4.Conflict in society is desirable ( a value judgement) because it makes possible social change, which may lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth and power. The two perspectives - Order and Conflict - play an important and influential part in the studyof large-scale social structural issues. These perspectives have been applied to the study of race and ethnic relations to formulate sociological theories. According to the order or functionalist perspective, every societal institution exists because it is helpful to society. All institutions play some role in making the society more stable.

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