Sociology has the answer: part IV- The power of words and the conflict perspective

As I am writing my final thesis, an important part of it is based on terrorism and major cases that have happened around. The impact of these events on people is a significant detail that should be studied therefore I have planned to search some information about this idea. I was amazed to see how the power of words can provide a large influence on how people can react in front of a crime. The example I have seen was the one of George W. Bush who created a conference right after the 9/11 attacks. The video shows how during the conference, the former president of US repeats words such as terror or terrorism in almost every phrase. He placed these words in a context that could influence people. The reasons of using such words could be to influence people or to understand that the full blame of the whole event is based on the terrorists. Nowadays people think about terrorists as dangerous persons they should fear of even though many of us did not meet one. Therefore, by the help of this discourse and many other moments during the attack, a conflict was created. This conflict is going on even today. According to the studies I have made, after the 9/11 attack there were even situations when Muslims were attacked or killed just because the terrorists were Muslims, even though those people did not have any blame within the situation of the attack.

This is how sociology can define such a problem as a “conflict perspective.” This idea was coined by Karl Marx but it is also based on other theorists who provide further ideas. Therefore, this theory states that social life is shaped by different groups that use to compete between them for different resources. This could be the case of everyday life but also the case of ethnic, racial or class inequality. According to the 9/11 situation words also have their own power within the process of making people understand the different issues regarding terrorism. Therefore the conflict among groups is inevitable starting with the simple idea that terrorists are dangerous. Soon in the mind of people these ideas lead to the logical phrases where terrorists are Muslims therefore all Muslims are dangerous. During the Bush`s conference he used even words that by themselves could lead to a conflict between two groups such as the word “war.” Once the conflict is created people also tend to act accordingly.

Therefore, remember that sometimes the words used can influence people but they can also create a conflict. So use them wisely!

Written by Molnar Crina


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