The social conflict theory is a theoretical framework that seeks to explain the nature and causes of social conflicts. It focuses on the unequal distribution of power, resources, and opportunities in society, which leads to conflict between different social groups. This theory provides valuable insights into understanding various forms of social conflicts and their impact on individuals and communities.

Key Elements of Social Conflict Theory

Social conflict theory encompasses several key elements that help us understand the dynamics of social conflicts:

1. Power

Power plays a central role in social conflict theory.

It refers to the ability of individuals or groups to influence or control others’ behavior, actions, or decisions. In society, power is not distributed equally, leading to power imbalances between different social groups. Those with more power often exploit or oppress those with less power, resulting in conflict.

2. Social Inequality

Social inequality refers to the unequal distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges among individuals or groups in society.

This inequality can be based on factors such as wealth, income, education, race, gender, or social class. Social conflict theory highlights how these inequalities create tensions and conflicts between different social groups.

3. Class Struggle

Class struggle is a fundamental concept in social conflict theory that emphasizes the conflicts between different social classes.

According to this theory, societies are divided into distinct classes based on their economic position and ownership of resources. The struggle for control over resources and wealth between the ruling class (bourgeoisie) and working class (proletariat) leads to class conflicts.

4. Exploitation

Exploitation refers to the unfair or unequal use of resources, labor, or power by one group over another.

Social conflict theory highlights how dominant social groups exploit the less powerful groups to maintain their status and accumulate wealth. Exploitation often leads to resentment, resistance, and ultimately, social conflicts.

5. Social Change

Social change is a central goal of social conflict theory.

This theory argues that conflicts and tensions in society are necessary catalysts for social change and progress. Through collective action and mobilization, oppressed groups can challenge the existing power structures, demand equal rights and opportunities, and bring about positive transformations in society.


In conclusion, the elements of social conflict theory provide a comprehensive framework for understanding the dynamics of social conflicts. By examining power imbalances, social inequality, class struggles, exploitation, and the potential for social change, this theory sheds light on the causes and consequences of conflicts between different social groups. Incorporating these elements into our analysis helps us develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of society and work towards creating a more equitable and just world.