Lewis Coser considers that conflict is goal related and mentions that there are two types of goals, rational and transcendent; however, he does not mention the eventual interrelations between these goals. On one hand, Coser implies that to achieve rational goals, violence is not necessarily used “if people perceive conflict as a means to achieving clearly expressed rational goals,” if that happens, “then conflict will tend to be less violent” (Allan 2008). Following Coser’s assertion that internal conflict’s goals are rational; their achievement will not imply the strong use of violence. On the other hand, Coser links transcendent goals with strong uses of violence since these types of goals imply an emotional involvement. However, he falls short in considering that conflicts can have the presence of both types of goals. For instance, the beginning of a war could imply emotion directed goals; however, conflict development needs rational and clearly expressed goals to plan both how to protect a society and how to attack an enemy. This is the relation that Coser is not taking into account since he does not mention that both goals could work together.
Do you agree with Coser’s assumption that internal conflicts only works with emotional goals?
Allan, Kenneth. The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory. California: Sage Publications, 2007.