Essay: Types of Cultural Conflicts
Thorsten Sellin (1938) emphasized the cultural diversity of modern industrial society. For Sellin, law embodied the normative structure of the dominant cultural/ethnic group. The criminal law contains the “crime norms,” inappropriate behavior and its punishment, reflecting the values and interests of the groups successful in achieving control of the legislative process.
The “conduct norms” of other, less powerful groups reflecting their specific social situations and experiences often come into conflict (Culture Conflict) with the crime norms. This leads to the production of deviant or criminal definitions surrounding the everyday behavior of the individual members of these less powerful groups. Sellin indicated that as society diversified and became more heterogeneous, the probability of growing and more frequent conflict, therefore deviance, would increase.
According to him, he looks at conflict in two forms as summarized below
i. Primary conflict – this type of conflict is that which occurs when the norms of two cultures clash
ii. Secondary conflict – this is that which occurs within the evolution of a single culture
Subordinate culture has two options: alter culture or risk continued conflict
of immigrants, born in “new” country, are often caught between two cultures.