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  • divorce is desirable because it shows women are breaking free from oppression of patriarchal nuclear family
  • there are more arguments between spouses now that women are in paid work
  • Couples are more likely to have individual separate wages
  • Girls are doing better in school
  • Hochschild - Women are more likely to be in paid work reducing the pay gap
  • Hochschild - Both partners working equals to less emotional support
  • Women doing paid work, house work and childcare (triple shift) = conflict and divorce
  • Previously, people had no choice but to regain love or to live without it
  • Today, marriage is not seen so much as a binding contract to seek out personal fulfilment
  • Alan & Crow - marriage isn't going perfectly so people think divorce justifies that
  • Fletcher - Marriage isn't what people expected so they divorce easily
  • Alternatives to divorce - desertation, legal separation, empty shell marriage
  • Fear of divorce - divorce rates are rising so people are put off marriage
  • Hochschild (1997) - at work, women feel valued whereas at home they feel pressured and frustrated
  • Women and the triple shift - paid work, housework and childcare
  • Girls do better at school
  • Allan & Crow - Marriage isn't embedded on the economic system meaning spouses aren't dependant on each other
  • delaying/having less children
  • 40% of marriages end in divorce
  • Partnerships - few people are getting married but there are more remarriages
  • People marry at an older age
  • Divorce means an increase in step families
  • 1967/1971 Divorce law reform act.
  • Marriage is still viewed positively by functionalists. Although increase in divorce, most people still marry and remarry, proving that people do not replace marriage with divorce
  • Critics argue functionalists perspective towards marriage is rose tinted
  • New right - divorce is undesirable as it undermines the traditional nuclear family, it creates the underclass of welfare dependant on female lone parents and leaves boys with no male adult role model
  • Functionalists - high divorce doesn't mean marriage is under threat, simply the result of peoples higher expectations of marriage
  • Postmodernists - divorce gives people freedom to choose to end marriage when it no longer suits
  • Interactionalists - we can't generalise why people divorce, each reason differs
  • People would rather invest in themselves alone
  • As stigma declines, and divorce becomes more socially acceptable, couples become more willing to resort to divorce as it means solving their marital problems
  • Secularisation - decline in religious influence on society as a result, the traditional opposition to divorce doesn't matter in church anymore
  • cohabitation - living together in a sexual relationship but not married
  • With the decline in marriages & increase in divorces, more couples cohabite.
  • Due to decline in stigma, increased career and secularisation


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