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Ralph Dahrendorf

He was a German sociologist who still represents one of the best efforts to incorporate the insights of Marx and Weber into a coherent set of theoretical propositions. His theory is known as the dialectic theory of conflict and his themes of academic work are -class and conflict theory, role theory, society and democracy in Germany with particular emphasis on education and the possibilities of reform in higher education and modernization as a global process.

He viewed society to be held by enforced constraint where some positions are delegated power and authority over others. Influenced by structural functionalism he argued that society is composed of imperatively coordinated associations i.e. associations of people controlled by a hierarchy of authority and power. Thus his central thesis was that the differential distribution of authority invariably becomes the determining factor of systematic social conflicts.
Major works:
Class and class conflict in Industrial Society (1959)
Essays in the theory of society (1967)