Culture refers to spiritual, intellectual and aesthetic development of an individual, group or society. It captures a variety of products and activities that determine and define the way of life of a people. Cultural theories are thus tools that give understanding to values, codes, norms discourses, ideologies and pathologies. Theory offers a model of influence through which culture exerts on social life and social structures. Theories play a role in the provision of stability, opportunity and solidarity or as in this article means to understand and resolve conflict (Burton et al.). This writing focuses on sociological theories in the cultural setting of Jena in Louisiana (A Town in Turmoil).
Social Conflict Theory
Social conflict theory sees the society as an arena. This arena is responsible for the generation of conflict and change within the society. Many factors in this society are interrelated including race, class, power, education and prestige. This article presents a society that has become a playground or an arena where all the above factors are displayed. Whereas the bigger picture focuses on the racial bias that is seen in this culture, the arena still holds all the other factors.
The idea of power display, for example, is seen when the black students stand up to represent and voice their complaints against insults from the white student community. They are met with brutal power display from white district attorney’s office plus the white judiciary. Each of these social elements plays on the same stage in the same society. The white students, for example, are accused of being overrated. Most of them are football and sports students with scholarships awaiting them and as such feel like they are above the board. On the contrast, the white students seem to use the power of numbers given that the community in Louisiana is almost eighty percent white. Every of these racial groups seem to have a social prestige that defines them. This is contrast to the structural, functional theory, whose basis of identification is value.
Social conflict theory from the perspective of conflict rejects the notion that social structures are responsible for the promotion of effective society operation. Instead, it looks at a community as a parasitic relationship where what benefits one party hurts the other. The arrest of the six students and their being arraigned in court seems to work for the white student community as the black society pays dearly with the loss of education and scholarships. On the contrary, the forceful retaliation from the black students is reported to cause physical injury.
The point in this theory is that patterns are created which don not always favor all parties. In this highly charged and racial Louisiana community represented by the students in Jena, the conflict between the dominant and the disadvantaged remains persistent. The black community as described in this article is a targeted by the systems and structure and how they...