Looking Through a Different Lens

Social Conflict theory is an important theoretical framework within the field of criminology and sociology. It states that particular segments of society benefit from established social and economic arrangements in the society (Spiegel, 2006). These provisions allow them to use state resources to maintain that inequality. Although this theoretical tradition was restricted to the economics of society, racial and ethnic factors have become an integral part. It reflects the fact that poverty and crime are part and parcel of the American society. Police departments are powerful institutions in the country. The American Constitutions sanction most of their activities. However, the elite continues to use them to foster their agendas. Social conflict theory explains the behavior of the police towards the public.

I agree with conflict theorists that privileged societal elites to use the police to suppress the activities of threatening individuals and groups. The perspective views society as a collection of competing sets of people. Each of these groups uses resources at their disposal to maintain personal economic status. Additionally, they extend this privilege to friends and families. Policing is a daunting task for the police because dominant groups control their activities. What the police do on the streets to maintain social order is not an individual action.

Additionally, I agree with the social conflict theory that the police have a negative attitude toward outgroups. According to this perspective, law enforcement officers emphasize the importance of in groups in their departments. These individuals believe that they must protect themselves from the public (Weitzer, Tuch, & Skogan, 2008). Indeed, when the police encounter aggressive populations such as demonstrators, they display aggression. Sometimes, they flee to save their lives. Conflict theorists assert that the police believe that the public is always out to harm the police, thus the need to remain armed at all times.

Moreover, I agree with the social conflict theory that the law enforcement institution is too powerful to be challenged by minority groups in the country. The theorists argue that the law sanctions the activities of the police. The dominant groups in society are aware of this power and use it to reduce resistance from the subjugated communities (Weitzer, Tuch, & Skogan, 2008). The wealthy realize that social disorder is not the best environment for business. Given the implications of the theory, it means that the operations of the police divide the public along social and economic lines (Hageman, 1985). In the American context, doing so opposes the interests of the poor people in society.

In conclusion, the social conflict theory explains the role of the police in maintaining social order in the country. These conflict theorists argue that elites gain from economic differences in the country. Pronounced economic differences allow the wealthy people in the society to control law and order. The elite work with the police to maintain social order in society so that their businesses do not suffer losses. Consequently, the state deploys the cops to metropolitan areas to ensure peace prevails. In some cases, the police use force when locals resist their invasion. However, the judicial system does not punish the law enforcement officers for any act of violence because they act on the orders of their superiors. Constitutionally, the police maintain social order. However, their training prepares them for violent encounters in the line of duty. The police are skeptic of members of the public because of the animosity that exists between these two sides.