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Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective$
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Michael Donnelly and Murray Straus

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300085471

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300085471.001.0001

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Conflict Theory of Corporal Punishment

Conflict Theory of Corporal Punishment

(p.199) 14 Conflict Theory of Corporal Punishment
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Randall Collins

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that conflict operates analogously on all levels, with differences in significance only relevant because they affect the strength of the variables, not the shape of the conflict process. The discussion here begins with the main principles of conflict theory: Any resource that affects social interactions produces interests in using that resource to control other persons, and the capacity to control in turn sets up a latent conflict. Three kinds of resources are coercive power, material wealth, and emotional ritual. The third of these is especially important because it creates feelings of group solidarity and symbols of memberships; it can paste over lines of personal conflict but also can greatly intensify any conflict that does break out. Conflict becomes overt to the extent that there are resources for mobilizing interests. The winner in the conflict is the one with the most resources. Conflict de-escalates as mobilizing resources are used up.

Keywords:   conflict theory, conflict process, social interactions, coercive power, material wealth, emotional ritual

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