Lewis Coser presents an examination of the concept of social conflict and its use in empirical sociological research in this “lucid, comprehensive essay in social theory” (American Journal of Sociology).
The positive values of conflict for all societies come to light in this study that reveals how conflicts fulfill social functions such as the maintenance of group boundaries and the prevention of the withdrawal of members of a group. Lewis Coser is critical of the view that conflict is dysfunctional and works to demonstrate its inadequacies.
In a series of basic propositions distilled primarily from the theories of Georg Simmel, Coser clarifies the function of social conflict. Beyond this, Functions of Social Conflicts extends these propositions and relates them to psychoanalysis and empirical research theories.
Lewis Coser was a German-American sociologist and the 66th president of the American Sociological Association. He earned his PhD in sociology at Columbia University and founded the sociology department at Brandeis University.