Conflict Containment And Resolution Essay Research Paper

Conflict Containment And Resolution Essay, Research Paper

Boundaries of acceptable social behaviour that are

institutionalised are called laws; those that are informal are

called norms. Norms and laws protect the social order, without

which societies could not exist. Still, they are often ignored or

violated, and the result may be conflict- the disruption of

social order. Sanctions are reactions by society? to approved or disapproved

behaviour. Reactions to approved behaviour are called positive

sanctions; reactions to disapproved behaviour are called negative

sanctions. Laws are always backed up by sanctions. Diffused sanction- a spontaneous expression of either approval

or disapproval

Ostracism- a diffused sanction in which the offender is


Organised sanction- a formalised and institutionalised expression

of approval or disapproval

? Courts and Judges

In many societies, the identification of wrongdoers, the decision

to punish them or not, and the method of punishment to be used

are duties of the court. A court"s members are not directly involved in the

dispute. The head of a court is usually a judge, who acts on

behalf o the community of a higher politically authority. In

societies with centralised political systems, the judge is

typically backed up by the weight of the entire political system,

because his office is a political position. In Central Africa, a judge of the Lozi chiefdom relies in his

decision making on a concept familiar to Westerners: that of the

reasonable man.? The Lozi judge asks himself whether an accused

person behaved reasonably and in conformity with custom. If the

offence involves an action that the defendant committed in his

capacity as a father, for instance, the judge compares the

defendant"s behaviour against Lozi norms for paternal

behaviour. Standards of accepted behaviour are familiar to each

Lozi individual and deviants know that if they are brought to

court they will be judged according to their degree of conformity

to these standards. Fear of the court serves as a sanction

against deviant behaviour- even behaviour that does not actually

break the law.

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