ERIC Number: ED097387
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Functions of Conflict: School Desegregation in 91 Cities.
Kirby, David J.; Crain, Robert L.
This paper pursues the question: "When is conflict functional to a proponent of change?" Interview data from school desegregation controversies in 91 Northern cities is used. Four major findings from the data show ways in which conflict seems to both facilitate and hinder effects to obtain desegregation: On the one hand, cities with militant black populations are more likely to have the issue of school desegregation come up, and desegregation is more likely to occur if the school board has a high level of internal conflict; but at the same time both civil rights demonstrations and grass roots anti-integration activity by whites seem self-defeating. Five hypothesis are drawn from the findings: (1) A non-issue can be made salient by a powerless group with conflict-raising tactics. (2) The pressure of a tradition of conflict is a facilitator of change. (3) Grass roots activity without the support of some elites is often ignored by other elites. (4) Conflict is generally dysfunctional if a decision for change must be made by an informal decision rule based on consensus politics. (5) Conflict-increasing tactics are less likely to be self-defeating, and may be helpful, in a group with compulsory attendance and a decision-making rule requiring less than unanimity. Examples of groups with compulsory attendance are bureaucracies, legislative bodies, and firms. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting (Chicago Illinois, April 1974)