Dahrendorf Authority and Conflict Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Dahrendorf Authority and Conflict

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Introduction to Authority

  • Differential distribution of authority “invariably becomes the determining factor of systematic social conflicts.”
  • Macro perspective with focus on social facts
  • For eg. Roles, position
  • Different positions have different degree of authority
  • Authority resides in position and not individual


  • Focus on to study structure of positions in society
  • Conflicts among them
  • To analyse the conflict, Identification of authority roles (large scale structure)

Authority Attached to Position

  • Two aspects of authority:
    • Super ordination
    • Subordination
  • The powerful control the subordinates
  • How?
  • Due to expectations of people around them with the position
  • Not due to psychological characteristic
  • Expectations are attached to position
  • Authority is specified in society and not generalized
  • It is legitimate
  • Those who do not comply may be punished

Is Authority Constant?

  • No
  • As it resides in position and not individuals
  • If X holds authority in setting A, it may not be the case in setting B
  • If Y is subordinated in setting A, it may not be the case in setting B
  • Known as ‘imperatively coordinated disassociations’
  • Authority is dichotomous
  • Only two conflict groups can exist within an association
  • Contradictory interests in substance and direction held by both parties
  • Group at the top and bottom have common interests
  • For him, interests are large scale and not psychological phenomena
  • The dominant position holders seek to maintain status quo
  • Subordinates seek change
  • Legitimacy of authority is precarious – conflict of interest based
  • Interests are objective in nature
  • How? Reflected in roles attached to position

Latent and Manifest Interests

  • Unconscious role expectation, no need to internalize expectations – latent interests
  • Latent interests when become conscious – manifest interests
  • They adjust or adapt to the roles and behave in an expected manner
  • Conflict theory՚s task to analyse the connection between the two


Q. 1. Who said that those who study behavioural or psychological characteristics of individuals/individual level are not sociologists?

i. Coser

ii. Collins

iii. Pareto

iv. Dahrendorf

Answer: iv

Q. 2.

Statement 1: Association of people is controlled by hierarchy of authority and position

Statement 2: An individual can be superordinate in one and subordinate in another setting due to various associations in society


i. Statement 1 is correct

ii. Statement 2 is correct

iii. Both are true

iv. Both are false

Answer: iii

#Sociological Theories


#Dahrendorf (For SET)



0: 00 DAHRENDORF: Authority And Conflict

0: 12 Introduction to Authority

2: 16 Concept of Authority

2: 50 Authority Attached To Position

5: 30 Is Authority Constant?

9: 00 Latent and Manifest Interests

10: 30 MCQ about Authority

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