Social Integration Through Conflict: Mechanisms and Challenges in Pluralist Democracies
Conflicts are not usually associated with social integration, but rather with threats to it. They appear as a cause of social distance, alienation and division. However, the sociology of conflict maintains that conflicts are as much a source of social integration and cohesion as they are of division. Modern democratic societies in particular have developed the ability to enable and maintain social integration by simultaneously promoting and containing conflict. To do so, they make use of three different mechanisms: the dilution and pluralisation of conflicts, their institutional embedding, and the adaptation and appropriation of the social order through conflict. The article introduces these mechanisms, outlines how they materialise in modern democracies and discusses three current developments that threaten the balance between the promotion and containment of conflict: polarisation, radicalisation and depoliticisation.
Deitelhoff, Nicole und Cord Schmelzle. 2023. Social Integration Through Conflict: Mechanisms and Challenges in Pluralist Democracies. In: KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. doi: 10.1007/s11577-023-00886-3.