Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Albert McQueen


Conflict, National Woman's Party, National Woman's Trade Union, Authority, Society, Leadership


In every society there are individuals or groups of people who have the power to control, or at least direct, various resources. Resources, an ambiguous term, can mean anything from monetary supplies to legislative sanctions to different objects or opportunities.. Just as there will be individuals controlling these assets, there will also be groups perceiving and expressing discontent. For example, these people may be dissatisfied with the power groups' methods of leadership; they may perceive their needs to be neglected and/or they may want to seize control of these assets and channel resources into their own hands for the betterment of their group. One might even understand this inevitable aspect of conflict in society as part of a continuing reinforcement of the status quo which functions to enhance what the particular society has designated as 'natural'. As a society allows people to voice their protests and malcontent, a power structure is in a position to display its strength by repressing their actions and words and then punishing, them by ignoring them or by coopting members of the group or the group's demands into the authority structure. The issue of conflict is essential for an understanding of social organization, for as William Gamson notes, "a system cannot function effectively if it must devote too much of its resources to problems of integration and conflict management." Conflict is built into a system which can only handle a certain number of demands; some people will always be dissatisfied. The point then is that there are two vantage points- the perspective from the challenge group which seeks to exert influence and the authority perspective which seeks to contain conflict and maintain a stable society.

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Sociology Commons