The process of conflict, Family conflict as a multi-level...

4.5. Conflict process

The conflict process is its dynamic characteristic in contrast to the structural elements: the source, subjects, object and the subject of the conflict.

The process of conflict is the course of the conflict's development in stages and phases. The description of the dynamic characteristics of the conflict assumes consideration of the regulators of the dynamics of the conflict that determine its origin and development. Undoubtedly, the distinction between the structural and dynamic parameters of the conflict is sometimes not sufficiently clear.

The dynamic characteristics of the conflict are given the main attention in works on conflictology. In any case, questions related to the dynamics of the conflict are considered more often in conflictological literature than others. Obviously, this is due to the fact that what is happening in the conflict has a decisive influence on its outcome, on the resolution of the conflict and its consequences.

The description of the dynamic characteristics of the conflict implies attention to the development of the conflict and requires an answer to two key questions: what is going on in the conflict (processes occurring at different stages) and how does this happen (the regulators of these processes)?

It is usually believed that the conflict goes through the following stages of development:

- an objective contradiction;

- an aggravation of the objective contradiction;

- conflict situation;

is an incident;

- the reaction of the subjects to the conflict (destructive and constructive);

- conflict management;

- functional and dysfunctional consequences of the conflict;

- Settlement and resolution of the conflict.

Stages of conflict development - periods in the development of the conflict, reflecting the essential moments that characterize the development of the conflict from its rise to its resolution. Knowing the main content of each stage of the conflict is important for predicting conflict, assessing and selecting technologies for managing it.

When, in fact, does a social conflict arise and what is its starting point? In domestic literature, this problem was reflected in the distinction between the concepts conflict and objective conflict situation & quot ;. Analyzing the content put by different authors in the concept of "conflict situation", we can say that it is basically interpreted as a set of objective external circumstances and conditions conducive to the emergence of conflict. Conflict, in turn, represents a real clash of the participants in the situation, their confrontation, the beginning of which becomes their awareness of the situation as a conflict, and the transition to conflict interaction.

The phases of the conflict are periods in the development of the conflict, directly related to its stages and reflecting the dynamics of the conflict primarily from the point of view of the real possibilities for its resolution. The main phases of the conflict are: the initial phase; lifting phase; peak phase; phase of decline.

Conflict phases can be repeated cyclically. For example, after the decay phase in the first cycle, the second cycle can begin its ascent phase with the passage of the peak and fall phases. Then the third cycle can start, etc. At the same time, the possibilities for resolving the conflict in each subsequent cycle are reduced. The described process can be depicted graphically (Figure 2).

Conflict Phase

Figure 2. Conflict phases

Thus, the analysis of the dynamic characteristics of a conflict presupposes a description of how a conflict arises from a certain set of external social conditions, how the conflict itself occurs and how the conflict resolves or ends.

4.6. Family conflict as a multi-level social process

Social conflict can occur at different levels: on the societal (between social communities, between society and its individual institution, for example, the family); on the group (between large and between small social groups, including groups of relatives) and even on the interpersonal. In the latter case, individuals act as representatives of specific social communities, bearers of their norms and values, performers of institutional roles, spokesmen for their status, etc.

Confrontation in the family is a multi-level social process (Table 2):

Table 2. Levels of family conflict formation and resolution

Levels of formation and resolution of family conflict

As can be seen from Table. 2, at the social and institutional levels, contradictions are laid, on the interpersonal and group level, their manifestation takes the form of conflict interaction. These levels are not isolated from each other; social processes are interrelated with family, family - with personal. Of personalities, the family and society eventually develop.

The conflict's driving forces are the contradictions, interests and value orientations of the subjects.

Conflict is a special kind of interaction between subjects: individuals, small social groups. It is a clash of opposing forces and a confrontation between two or more opposing sides. Their collision is caused by the impossibility of simultaneously satisfying the needs of the parties, assumes the intersection of their interests, the awareness of infringement of their interests and the attitude to the opposing side as the enemy and the "culprit" Problems. The conflict derives from status, role, value, normative and other spiritual and material differences of people. In the process of conflict, an acute contradiction is resolved, based on incompatibility of interests, goals, expectations, views, motives, actions of people. The emergence of contradictions in the family is inevitable due to the existence of certain problems in it, the inequality of family members, the uneven distribution of resources, etc. Conflict interaction in the family (as a special form of interaction in the process of conflict) is associated with negative emotions, stress, damage and so on.

Conflict situation can develop objectively, and can be created by one of the parties or both. In accordance with the subjective value, the participant begins to act in the conflict. And the subjective reflection of the conflict situation does not necessarily correspond to the actual state of affairs. False perception arises from a misinterpretation of the words and actions of others. Differences in the interpretation of others' actions are largely determined by differences in cultures, norms of communication.

Interpretations of the conflict are manifold. The more synonyms in the language, the more differences in the interpretation of people of the same concept, describing a particular phenomenon. Semantic analysis of the concept of "conflict" allows to distinguish many of its synonyms: discrepancy, disagreement, friction, contradiction, opposition, disharmony, dissonance, antagonism, protest, quarrel, discord, strained relations, clash, argument, bickering, quarrel, strife, confrontation, confrontation, confrontation, , refusal, etc. Such a variety of interpretations indicates that each social group and its individual representatives can consider different types of relationships as conflicts.

Therefore, the conflict in everyday family-related interaction is created by the subjects on the basis of an objectively formed in the society and the family institution of a contradictory situation. If the parties consider the situation of their interaction in the family as a conflict, then they carry out social actions appropriate to their representation of the conflict. The interpretation of the situation and actions as conflictual is due to gender, generational, cultural, institutional, group and even individual social values ​​and norms.

Conflict is preceded by a contradiction; at the same time, the conflict is defined as the stage of its significant aggravation and one of the extreme forms of resolving an acute conflict by the actors involved in it. By the way the existence of contradictions are presented as social identities, social differences and social opposites. At the initial stage, arising as a possibility, a contradiction emerges as an identity that includes insignificant differences. In the next stage, as a part of the dialectical identity, essential differences arise and deepen. In the process of subsequent development, at its third stage, a significant difference can develop into the opposite. The social opposite leads to a conflict between people, manifested in a clash of their fundamental interests. That is, contradictions begin with insignificant differences, which under the influence of various factors develop into significant ones, reaching up to opposite properties and tendencies.

E. Giddens notes that contradiction and conflict are directly related to cases when individuals face distorted consequences of their own actions or consider them quite likely. Distorted consequences are unforeseen results, which can be caused by a situation of structural contradiction. Calling the "back effect", the distorted results give rise to depression in the individuals, a sense of frustration, resentment, a dejected state, and therefore a potential willingness to fight. However, these consequences are not the only causes of conflict. General conditions that stimulate its emergence should be sought in the connection between the contradiction and the collective interests. The ability to control the conditions of reproduction of the system, minimizing possible conflicts, is the state.

These views of E. Giddens emphasize the relationship of objective, structural contradictions in society with their subjective perception of them as negative for the individual, which together can cause conflict. In addition, the scientist points to the main source of regulation of social conflicts - the state.

From the standpoint of the subject-activity approach, conflict in the family can be defined as confrontation (active contradiction) of self-determining subjects. Since self-determination and confrontation in this self-determination occur in individuals and their groups constantly, day by day, the conflict is a normal and mass phenomenon, and not an extreme, limiting case of aggravation of social contradictions. This interpretation is applicable to the conflict in the family, but at the same time the presence of both constructive and destructive aspects of the conflict is taken into account.

Family conflict - this is a certain relationship between family members, generated by the contradictions of its development and functioning, through which they are resolved. Family conflict includes the contradictions between spouses, between parents and children, other relatives. The conflict arises about the fulfillment of the family's functions, about the structure of family relations, the definition of family goals and development objectives at each stage of the life cycle of the family, the system of family values ​​and its conformity to the individual values ​​of family members.

You can classify conflicts in the family as horizontal (between spouses, between brothers and sisters, etc.) and vertical (between parents and children, between grandparents and grandchildren, etc.). Horizontal conflicts arise within a generation, vertical conflicts occur between generations. Participants in vertical conflicts have deeper inequality of status, more pronounced hierarchy in relationships, etc.

According to the research of N.V. Shakhmatova, for intragenerational relations are characterized by relatively stable not only status, but also emotional contacts that can be preserved and transferred in time (throughout life) and in social space (for social institutions). Relations between peers are more democratic than intergenerational relations, for intra-generational integration, relations of equality are more characteristic.

Inter-generational conflict can arise between relatives belonging to different generations in the family and/or in society, regardless of whether the subjects of the conflict live separately or separately. Parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren have fundamental social differences due to their belonging to different historical epochs of the development of society. To a certain extent, the family neutralizes these differences and promotes a compromise between generations, whose orientation toward peer values ​​is often not less than the values ​​of relatives. The family is internally disunited, with unstable marriage-family ties, which for a long time develops in an unstable society, has serious difficulties in regulating relationships.

One of the indicators of the presence of conflict in the family is social tension in the interaction of individuals. Social tension is an indicator of conflict, which reflects a certain spiritual state of individuals and social groups, their emotions, dissatisfaction with the existing situation. Impossibility or unwillingness to reach an agreement and solve the problems facing the subjects peacefully and with the maximum benefit intensifies disharmony in the relations of relatives. Tension is also stimulated by the conviction of each side in its own right and "wine" enemy.

The accumulation of the potential of social tension is based on dissatisfaction, which arises as a result of discrepancies, misalignment of values, interests, needs of various social actors and the first step towards real inconsistency.

A quantitative indicator of tension is an increase in the number of destabilizing factors and situations in the interaction in the family, an increase in the period of destructive relations. Qualitative indicators of tension indicate changes in the content of relations between subjects, in the content characteristics of the subjects themselves, in the transition from constructive forms of solving problems in the family to destructive (associated with violence, isolation, neglect of family responsibilities, etc.).

The content of tension is associated with social disintegration, lack of solidarity between interacting individuals and groups, deviation, sometimes with anomie, loss of social identity, deprivation and frustration of the basic needs of the individual, the family, the social crisis. Tension precedes the conflict and, under appropriate conditions, can escalate into conflict.

The process of growing social tension in the conflict in the family includes the following stages:

1) increased dissatisfaction of spouses, parents, children with the conditions of their interaction;

2) the discovery of a causal relationship between objective contradictions and the activities of other family members, causing interpersonal tension;

3) strengthening of the tension, transforming into a conflict potential;

4) accumulation of conflict potential and its transition into an open conflict.

Conflict interaction in the family is a process that develops according to a cyclical scheme, which consists of several stages: the pre-conflict stage, the stage of the incident and the conflicting opposition of the parties, the stage of the conflict's end and the manifestation of its consequences. At any stage, the conflict can be resolved, suspended or, conversely, aggravated. In cases of unresolved conflict, it is possible that new conflict situations arise in the family.

The process of confrontation in the family is nonlinear. It flows with a changing speed and direction: it can escalate and de-escalate, turn around (return to previous stages) and "deviations aside" (switching to other objects, creating the effect of layering problems). In addition, the conflict in the family is a discrete, intermittent process, i.e., suspensions are possible, attenuation conflict interaction and its resumption. The complex dynamics of the conflict creates additional difficulties in regulating it, the variability and ambiguity of its consequences.

In various theoretical approaches, the conflict is explained both as a functional process and as a dysfunctional one.

Most fully first highlighted this question G. Simmel. His work "Conflict was built around the main thesis that conflict is a form of socialization. No group is completely harmonious, for in this case it would be devoid of movement and structure. Groups need both harmony and disharmony, both association and dissociation; Conflicts within groups are not exclusively destructive factors. The formation of a group is the result of processes of both kinds: both positive and negative factors create group ties. Conflict, like cooperation, has social functions. A certain level of contradiction is an essential component of both the process of formation of the group and its sustainable existence. The theoretical provisions of G. Simmel serve as methodological prerequisites for studying conflict in the family as a functional process.

According to G. Simmel, contradiction and conflict not only precede unity, but also exist in it at every moment of its existence. The conflict is designed to overcome the destructive dualisms. Relieving tension between contrasts, conflict is one way to achieve unity.

In other words, the absence of conflict in family interaction is not an indicator of its strength and stability, its lack of potentially destructive tension and weak integration. For stable family relations, conflict situations and counteractions are not alien; on the contrary, their avoidance testifies to hidden tension, mistrust, fear, instability and a complete breakdown of relations in the family.

The functional analysis of the conflict in the family is based on the basic postulates of functional analysis put forward by R. Merton: standardized social realities or cultural elements are functional for the whole social or cultural system; all these social and cultural elements fulfill social functions; social functions are thus necessary (R. Merton's italics).

Function - one of the central concepts associated with describing the conflict as a process. First, the conflict is a consequence of the functional impact of components of higher-order systems. Secondly, the elements of the conflict structure are related by functional dependencies; The integrity of the conflict as a structure is supported by functional relationships. Thirdly, the conflict has a functional impact on the environment external to it, its participants and their relations with the external social and material environment.

The conflict in the family has important functions for its subjects, their social interaction, for the family and society as a whole. The social function of the conflict in the family is understood as its constructive role in the development of the family and society, which is mainly manifested in the dynamics of the conflict, in the aggregate of its positive consequences. It is the presence of social functions that leads to the fact that the conflict not only occurs from time to time in a single family, but also is generally reproduced in human culture. At the same time, attention to the functional aspects of the conflict does not mean denying that some of its forms destroy group unity, lead to the disintegration of individuals and the destabilization of the institution of the family.

Moreover, the conflict has functional changes: functions can be transformed into dysfunctions, and vice versa; The degree of expression and the rate of change of a function can vary. As a result of such changes, new social situations, phenomena, institutions, processes, people's attitudes or new characteristics of institutions, organizations, etc. can appear.

In a family, the conflict is a multidimensional - functionally-dysfunctional - process. This means that the conflict has not only functional, but also dysfunctional properties that in different situations are very inconsistently combined with each other and are ambiguous with respect to the individual, family, society.

The conflict is changing both in the direction of strengthening the functions, and in the direction of increasing dysfunction. Constructive and destructive changes in family relations are possible at every level: public-institutional, interpersonal-group. There is a need for and possible regulated changes in the relationship in the family.

Based on the above, you can draw a number of conclusions about the conflict in the family.

Conflict in the family is a process of aggravation, conflict and resolution of contradictions between spouses, parents and children, between grandparents and other close relatives.

Confrontation in the family is a multi-level social process. At the social and institutional levels, contradictions are laid down, on the interpersonal and group level, their manifestation takes the form of conflict interaction. The driving forces of this process are the contradictions, interests and value orientations of the subjects. Constructive and destructive changes in family relations are possible at every level.

There are such types of conflict in the family as horizontal - between parties roughly equal in status (husband and wife, brother and sister, etc.); vertical, which is characterized by the relationship of subordination associated with social distance and the inequality of the parties (between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, etc.).

Conflict situation in the family is created by the subjects of interaction on the basis of objective contradictions. Under the conflict, its participants are understood as such social situations and actions as divergence of views, misunderstanding of each other, contradiction of interests, disagreement on the other side, tense interaction and opposition of the parties, confrontation, clash, confrontation of opinions, antagonism, breaking of relations, etc.

An important role is played by people's understanding of contradictions as personal and family significant and interpreting the current situation and the actions of the opposite side as conflictual. This interpretation is determined by social norms (first of all, gender, generation, family), which the subjects adhere to. The conflict in the family has a situational and eventual dimensions. Indicators of conflict: the presence of contradictions, awareness of their family members, tensions, mutual opposition.

There may also be a combination of conflict on one issue and, on the contrary, consent - on others.

A family conflict is a multidimensional, non-linear, discrete functional process. It undergoes changes both in the direction of strengthening the functions, and in the direction of increasing dysfunction under the influence of various factors. This conflict has a certain structure, dynamics, functions, dysfunctions and methods of regulation.

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