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Theory in Action, Vol. 9, No. 1, January (© 2016) DOI:10.3798/tia.1937-0237.16001 1 The Conflict Paradigm in Sociology and the Study of Social Inequality: Paradox and Possibility Richard M. Simon* Conflict theory is one of the major paradigms utilized in contemporary sociology. Conflict theory takes competition between social groups for scarce resources, and the inequalities that result, to be fundamental elements of social structure. However, at the same time, the empirical study of social inequalities has revealed that group conflict produces a great deal of human misery and frustration, and one important dimension of conflict theory is the study of how to redress inequalities in power, status, and material conditions between social groups. This produces a paradox, in which social conflict and its resulting inequalities are taken to be fundamental to social structure, and yet conflict sociologists and policy makers attempt to write equality into social structure. This paper explores ...