Conflict can be described as a natural disagreement between two interdependent parties as a result of differences in attitudes, values, beliefs and needs. When the parties perceive incompatible goals with each other or detect interference from the other in achieving their goals conflict will arise. Scarce resources in any society are also a trigger for conflict between individuals and groups. There are multiple definitions of conflict available but commonalities exist among all of them. In order for there to be conflict all parties involved must notice the struggle. Other commonalities include scarcity of resources, opposition and interference in achieving goals. Different schools of thought view conflict differently and there has been conflict regarding the role of conflict in society. The Traditional view, which reigned in the 1930’s and 1940’s held the idea that conflict was a negative feature of society and was evidence of dysfunction brought about by inadequate communication, and a lack of trust and openness between different groups in society. Therefore, in accordance to this view, conflict should be avoided at all costs. This view did not prevail for very long due to its rigidity. The Human Relations view replaced the Traditional view and prevailed from the late 1940’s through to the 1970’s. This new view believed that conflict was inevitable and thus should be acceptable. Conflict was seen as a natural occurrence during interaction between groups and organizations. Eventually this view was stamped out giving way to the current perspective, The Interactionist View. This view differs from its predecessors in that it actively encourages conflict believing that any congruent, diplomatic, serene and cooperative group can become stationary and uninterested to needs for modernization and change. Therefore, this view encourages conflict, though of a minimal level, as it helps keep the group active, self-critical and imaginative. Conflict as described by the Human Relations view is inevitable and a part of every society. This aspect is especially true in third-world societies where conflict is rampant due to excessive competition for the scarce resources available such as money, employment opportunities, land, power and prestige. Third-world countries are characterized by high levels of unemployment and illiteracy leading to a wide gap between different social classes in the society. This leads to class conflict as different groups try to either maintain or improve their social standing at whatever cost. This conflict is evident here in Kenya, especially in the capital city of Nairobi where every social class is represented.
Class conflict, also known as class struggle or class warfare is the friction or rivalry between different classes in society as result of opposing socioeconomic desires and interests. Class conflict may take a variety of forms including direct and indirect violence, legal and illegal lobbying and even bribing of government officials. Classes in society are a result of social stratification: a method by which society positions groups of people within a hierarchy. Social stratification is an attribute of society and does not reflect on individual differences such as gender, race and religion. Because of this social stratification perseveres through generations, making social mobility difficult. Though social stratification is a universal feature, it varies between different societies, with certain societies showing more inequality than other ones. The class system is based on birth status as well as personal achievement. Social stratification in Kenya is a source of great conflict. The country’s class system is inundated by grave inequalities in every sector from health to security, politics to economics. This predisposes the society to conflict, both passive and active, as people fight the violation of their bottom line rules and norms. Class conflict in Kenya is expressed in a variety of...
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