POLITICAL CONFLICTS, The concept and functions of...


conflict, political conflict, the struggle of interests, the structure and stages of a political conflict, the methods and methods for settling and resolving conflicts.

While working on the topic Political conflicts it seems appropriate to bear in mind the following: the conflict is the object of a comprehensive scientific study. Philosophy, sociology, political science, general and applied psychology, law and other sciences study various aspects of conflict as a phenomenon of social life in accordance with their subject, their cognitive means and methods.

The deep cause of conflicts in society is the opposition of different needs, interests, values ​​of specific subjects of politics that make up the social structure. At the heart of the confrontation between the conflicting sides are objective contradictions (economic, social, political, ethnoconfessional, ideological, cultural, etc.).

The development of society and civilizations is always associated with manifestations of conflict. In all historical times, the attitude towards conflicts was ambiguous. Most often this was a negative attitude, as a result of which their presence was carefully concealed. In modern society, a positive attitude toward conflicts prevails, although quite often, as in the past, their existence is carefully masked.

The concept and functions of political conflicts

In the course of general sociology the basic sociological approaches and concepts of social conflict are described in sufficient detail. In this course we have to specify them in relation to the political life of modern society. In the most general form, we can define conflict as a special kind of interaction of social forces, in which the action of one side, faced with opposition, makes it impossible to realize its goals and interests. Political conflict - is the clash of political actors in their mutual desire to realize their needs and interests related to the attainment of power or participation in its redistribution.

The subjects of political conflicts are social groups, their leaders or political institutions representing their interests.

The object of a political conflict is connected with the contradictions arising in the process of practical activity of political subjects.

The object of political conflicts is the state power, the rights and freedoms of social groups, their political status, the degree of proximity or distance from the centers of power, the ability to influence the adoption of binding decisions for the whole society, etc.

In a word, the object of a conflict is certain values ​​or resources to which the opposing sides seek to possess or control. Power in this regard is both a value and a resource. The presence of power allows you to control other values ​​or resources (for example, tangible, in the form of property). The universality of power makes it a permanent object of political conflict.

The subject of political conflict is not always obvious. Sometimes he carefully breaks down, especially during the period of latent forms of its course.

It is worth recalling that modern sociological concepts of the conflict appeared and were justified only in the 1950-1960's. Prior to this period, sociology treated conflicts in a negative sense, seeing in them either a pathology of the social system, or a violation of the social order or deviation from it. The greatest contribution to the development of a positive theory of conflict was made by L. Cozer, R. Darendorf and C. Boulding.

L. Kozer under the social conflict understands the "struggle for values ​​and claims to a certain status, power and resources, a struggle in which the goals of the opponents are to neutralize, damage or destroy an opponent." He argued that there are no social groups without conflict relations and that conflicts have a positive impact on the functioning of social systems and their replacement. In his opinion, the conflict plays an important positive role in ensuring public order and the stability of a particular social system. The positive function of the conflict depends on the nature of the involvement in the group structure. The closer the social ties between people in the group, the more negative the conflict has on it. The higher the intensity of interaction in groups, the more often conflicts are suppressed. But if the conflict gets out of control in the group, it has a particularly devastating effect on the group, dividing it into two opposing camps. The stability of the whole society, according to Kozer, depends on the number of conflict relations existing in it and the type of ties between them. The more different conflicts intersect in a society, the more difficult it is to divide it into groups, the more difficult it is to divide the members of society into two camps. Hence, the more independent conflicts, the better for the unity of society.

P. Darendorf believes that the absence of conflict is something surprising and abnormal. For him in every society there is always disintegration and conflict. All social life is a conflict, because it is changeable. In human societies there is no permanence, because there is nothing in them that is sustainable. Therefore, it is in the conflict that the creative nucleus of all communities and the possibility of freedom are found, as well as a challenge to rational mastery and control over social problems. Modern social conflict, according to Darendorf, is the antagonism of rights and their provision, politics and economy, civil rights and economic growth.

The American sociologist K. Boulding understands the situation under the conflict in which the parties are aware of the incompatibility of their positions and at the same time they are trying to get ahead of the opponent and to beat him. In modern society, according to Boulding, conflicts are inevitable, therefore it is necessary to control and manage them. The main signs of the conflict are:

- the existence of a situation that is perceived by the opposing sides as conflictual;

- the conflict participants have conflicting goals, needs, interests and methods for achieving them;

- interaction of conflicting parties;

- the results of conflict interaction, the use of pressure and even force.

The English sociologist E. Giddens understands the real struggle between the acting people or groups under the conflict, regardless of the origins of this struggle, its ways and means, mobilized by each side.

The formation and development of modern society in many respects went under the sign of combating social inequality, for human freedom and social justice. Centuries later, it can be stated that, despite significant progress in almost all spheres of human life, modern society has not been able to achieve one of the goals set. Some forms and types of social inequality have been replaced by others, some types of social stratification have replaced others. Social ties and relationships have become more complex, new types of social identity, new values ​​and ideals have emerged. In these conditions of political power, it is increasingly difficult to maintain the balance of the system, its political and social stability. Hence - the development of various kinds of crises, which are often the basis or cause of the development of political conflicts.

These are identity crises (social, religious, ethnic, political, gender), participation crisis in politics, without which modern political institutions can not effectively perform their functions, the crisis of the legitimacy of power - the discrepancy between the goals of the regime and mass views about the norms of its functioning. In addition to crisis phenomena and processes in modern society, the sources and causes of political conflicts are: social heterogeneity of society; discrepancy of the status of political subjects; increasing needs for power; uneven distribution of resources (natural and social); the divergence of people (groups) in basic values ​​and ideals.

Political conflicts are multifaceted. In different social and historical contexts, in assessments of different social groups, they can have positive and negative consequences, but one can speak about the positive or negative significance of conflicts only in specific cases and after a certain time.

Political conflicts, on the one hand, have a stabilizing role, but they can also lead to disintegration and destabilization of society; they contribute to the resolution of contradictions and the renewal of society - and at the same time can lead to the loss of lives and material losses; they stimulate a reassessment of values, ideals, accelerate the process of the formation of new structures - or slow down; they provide a better knowledge of the parties to the conflict, but can lead to a crisis of confidence or the loss of legitimacy of power.

Many modern political conflicts are caused by the growth of the dynamics of social changes, which leads to group conflicts in base values ​​and ideals at different levels of the social system.

According to Columbia University professor J. Rothschild, in the process of modernization, there is a conflict between traditional and modern values, which leads to politicization of the leaders of the national minority, and, consequently, to politicization of the entire social group. The motivation for the beginning of this process is the concern over the preservation of ethnospecific features and the desire to mobilize their carriers into a cohesive group.

For further consolidation, an elite is needed that is capable and interested in mobilizing the bearers of ethnic traits into an active community, as well as rivalry due to limited resources within the "big" community. One option for the second condition may be a centrally-peripheral conflict on an ethnonational basis. Ethnonational conflicts have become widespread in the modern world. Therefore, they are actively explored by various sciences: sociology, political science, conflictology. Ethnonational conflicts are of a complex nature, but they are subject to certain regularities that allow them to follow their dynamics.

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