Social and conflict theoriesSocial theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies (e.g. positivism and antipositivism), as well as the primacy of either structure or agency. Certain social theories attempt to remain strictly scientific, descriptive, and objective. Conflict theories, by contrast, present ostensibly normative positions, and often critique the ideological aspects inherent in conventional, traditional thought.
?he origins ofare difficult to pinpoint, but debates frequently return to Ancient Greece (Berberoglu 2005, p. xi). From these foundations in Western philosophy arose Enlightenment social contract theory, sociological positivism, and modern social science. Today, ‘social science’ is used as an umbrella term to refer, not just to sociology, but also to economics, political science, jurisprudence, and other disciplines. Social theory is accordingly interdisciplinary; drawing upon ideas from fields as diverse as anthropology and media studies. Social theory of an informal nature, or authorship based outside of academic social and political science, may be referred to instead as “social criticism” or “social commentary”. Similarly, “cultural criticism” may be associated both with formal cultural and literary scholarship, as well as other non-academic or journalistic forms of writing.