Conflict and Consensus

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There are widely differing conceptions as to whether healthy social relations are, in essence, conflictual or consensual; such differences give rise to different approaches to finding peace and managing power. This article outlines the two broad schools of thought from conflict theory (in which society functions through competition) and consensus theory (which sees society developing through cooperation). It outlines the middle ground between them, as found by pluralism and agonism, before considering the ways in which assumptions vis-a-vis conflict and consensus are reflected in different models of democratic system and, in particular, different priorities for post-conflict recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Centripetalism
  • Compromise
  • Functionalism
  • Pluralism
  • Power-sharing
  • Agonism
  • Interdependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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