Military organs play a pivotal role in maintaining social, economic, and political order in a given society. In the course of executing its functions, the military employs theoretical frameworks to facilitate the systematic and logical treatment of diverse groups. As such, the integration of macro and micro-sociological theories highlights substantial implications for how the security forces execute their undertakings in various social settings. In this respect, the dominant macro-level sociological theories include conflict and functional theory. On the other side, the micro theories mainly concentrate on symbolic interactions besides utilitarianism, which is also referred to as the exchange or rational choice theory (Letsky 137).
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In the military treatment context, the micro and macro-level theories function collaboratively to solve various problems affecting different social groups. For this reason, micro-sociologists in the military treatment departments focus on the social interactions at the interpersonal level to understand the causes of conflict. On the other hand, the macro-sociologists focus on the causes of the incompatibilities resulting in conflicts among different groups or communities (Cetina and Cicourel 57). Notably, the application of the said theories in military operations has yielded promising results as the mitigation of issues at the micro and macro levels. Therefore, this paper highlights the correlation between the integration of the micro and macro-sociological theories and the successful treatment of diverse groups.
Micro-Level Sociological Theories in Military Treatment
The symbolic interactionism theory concentrates on comprehending the existing relationships and interactions between humans and society. The fundamental perception of this theory holds that people utilize symbols or meaningful communication to foster their interactions. As such, the theory maintains that individuals develop roles out of social interactions and they construct meanings of the given interactions (Letsky 142). Therefore, when a social group communicates in a certain way, one understands that the words or symbols used to represent the understandings established through social interactions.
In the military context, experts try to understand the mutually used symbols of interaction to distinguish diverse groups. For instance, when offering relief to civilians in an area affected by civil unrest, the military personnel could discern the behavior of the perpetrators and the affected communities by paying close attention to the symbols used (Collins 73). In so doing, understanding the symbols used by insurgents has facilitated the successful execution of operations as in the case of the Chadian War where the intervening military groups employed symbolic interactionism to discern the cultural differences triggering the religious, ethnic, and racial hostilities (Cetina and Cicourel 82). Similarly, in Kenya, during the 2007/2008 post-election violence, the military employed the use of symbols by the conflicting sides to identify the perpetrators of the violence. The integration of the framework facilitated the successful end of unrest in 2010 after causing chaos for at least five years.
The utilitarian theory holds that individuals ought to act in a manner that fosters maximum benefit to the greatest majority. As such, the usefulness of action in yielding advantages that outweigh the detriments constructs the social order or a particular setting. Likewise, the utilitarian theory holds that acting in a way that leads to disadvantages that outweigh the advantages in a given society prompts individuals to abandon such engagements for the benefit of society (Collins 43). In this regard, the theory expects individuals to involve their rationality in choosing interactions that yield maximum benefits instead of pain.
Similarly, the military forces employ the concept of the utilitarian theory when handling situations affecting diverse groups. Notably, military operations seek to achieve domestic and international peace, which has outcomes that outweigh social interactions characterized by tensions. As such, the application of the theory demonstrates the essence of engaging in rational thinking to curb events that would possibly lead to detrimental outcomes (Schiff 126). For example, military decision-makers from several states including Russia, France, Turkey, and the US among other countries decided to counter the harmful activities of the ISIL in Iraq and Syria to promote world peace. For this reason, intervention in the form of airstrikes in the Islamic States seeks to promote harmonious coexistence among the diverse communities of the world thereby revealing the rationality involved in such activities. Consequently, the interventions have curtailed the escalation of the issue in the Middle East and other regions like in Nigeria and Libya where the ideologies of the ISIL had already spread.
Macro-Level Sociological Theories in Military Treatment
The Conflict Theory
The conflict theory evolved from the Industrial Revolution with Karl Marx being its pioneer. The theory addresses the inequalities that disrupt social order. Particularly, the conflict theory points out that a capitalist society that owns the factors of production exploits the poor thereby resulting in conflicts as the latter stage a revolution against the former(Johnson 106). The impoverished conditions subjected to the poor or the bourgeoisies by the capitalists who continue to benefit from the situation prompt an uprising in such societies (Letsky 158).
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In this regard, the military uses the ideas underlined by Karl Marx in the conflict theory to address the various aspects of the social order. Therefore, the military approaches the conflicting parties in a way that would prevent the deterioration of the underlying issues into the overseen revolution (Schiff 155). For example, the economic aspect of the skirmishes experienced in the recent past in Sudan reveals a situation that required intervention to prevent the escalation of the “revolution” experienced in the country. Therefore, the deployment of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to manage the crisis caused by competition over fuel resources besides political differences resulted in peaceful coexistence in the country thereby benefiting the various social groups in the country.
The functionalist perspective as developed by Emile Durkheim underscores how society responds to the behavior of others. Durkheim underlined that people ought to learn the rules of society through socialization where different structures and institutions work collaboratively towards social, economic, and political good. Therefore, the aspects of social integration and socialization facilitate the prosperity of different communities (Cetina and Cicourel 77).
Therefore, the application of the functionalism theory as a macro-sociological approach to prevailing issues gains essence as the departments act collaboratively with other institutions to attain social order. Security forces embrace ideas from the political, social, and economic perspectives to address issues that trigger conflicts in various social groups (Johnson 113). In doing so, the armed forces seek to inform different groups on the essence of upholding peace as depicted by military operations in different regions. For instance, the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Coalition of States in combating Islamic extremists in Somalia and the Middle East respectively seek to use integrative approaches, which are essential for socializing the insurgents on the importance of observing peace.
The integration of sociological theories in the undertakings of military bodies has led to remarkable outcomes benefiting different social groups and communities. In most cases, the military is involved in implementing intervention measures in foreign setups and thus understanding the indigenous language is a problem. Therefore, the military is required to employ some theories as a way of delivering optimal services to address the pertinent issues at the time. In other situations, the military is required to make unpopular decisions to achieve the maximum benefit for the majority. Therefore, this paper has addressed some of the sociological theories that the military employs in its operations for successful intervention and treatment outcomes. The symbolic interactions and utilitarian theories foster the understanding of individual behaviors and practices, thus assisting decision-makers in the military forces to develop and execute effective treatment strategies.
The positive outcomes of the micro-sociological approaches to treatment have stood out in the case of the unrest, which was recently experienced in Chad and the ongoing handling of the ISIL. The military personnel involved in Chad and the ISIL situation are mainly foreign and thus they cannot understand the local dialect and culture easily. However, the application of micro-sociological approaches has seen the success of such operations. On the incorporation of functionalism and the conflict theory, the military understands the social behavior of different groups through the lens of the macro sociologist in a way that fosters the effective implementation of intervention approaches. Therefore, analyzing the behavior and interaction of individuals and social groups through the application of micro and macro-level sociological theories in treating affected parties through military forces intervention facilitates the realization of desirable outcomes in different setups.
Cetina, Karin, and Aaron Cicourel. Advances in Social Theory and Methodology (RLE Social Theory): Toward an Integration of Micro-and Macro-Sociologies, Oxford: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Collins, Randall. Violence: A micro-sociological theory, Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2009. Print.
Johnson, Paul. Contemporary sociological theory: An integrated multi-level approach, Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media, 2008. Print.
Letsky, Michael. Macrocognition in teams: Theories and methodologies, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2008. Print.
Schiff, Rebecca. The military and domestic politics: a concordance theory of civil-military relations, Oxford: Routledge, 2008. Print.