Theories of divorce

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  • Theories of Divorce
    • MARXISTS
      • they see divorce as the competition for resources and power within the marriage where both parties cannot come to an agreement.
      • Unequal access to resources in society can lead to tension within families and society. the stress results to the reduction of the chance of maintaining a stable relationship.
        • may explain the higher rate of divorce among the working-class
      • Hart argues 'high divorce rates have been brought about by changes in the economy (1976) the economy demanded female labour so they work 'double shifts' increasing their dissatisfaction
    • FUNCTIONALISTS
      • Society is a complex system that promotes stability by guiding individuals with a structure that provides  certain social functions. Anything that disrupts the current social structure or function is dysfunctional.
      • they say divorce is beneficial as we end up with happier people and fewer dysfunctional families, this contributes to the stability of the society. it provides jobs like lawyers, doctors ect.
      • Parsons argues the increase in divorce is not a threat to marriage as an institution, but is a reflection of the higher values and expectations that people place on marriage.
    • FEMINISTS
      • see divorce as the conflict between a woman who is addressing the inequality stemming from her gender role and a man does not want to relinquish power or resources to her.
      • Kate Millett argues ' high divorce rates and the fact that its initiated by the women most of the time (69%), confirms the belief that marriage is a patriarchal institution that serves men and exploits women.
      • feminists are not necessarily against marriage but the do see it as favouring men more than women. they say before divorce was legal in the UK many women were trapped in violent or empty shell marriages.

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