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Sociological Reasons for Divorce
Changes in the law Declining Stigma Secularisation
Divorce was very difficult to obtain in 19 th century Stigma refers to the negative label & social Secularisation refers to the decline in the
Britain, especially for women. Gradually, however, disapproval attached to a person or action. In the influence of religion in society and many people
there have been changes in the law which have past, churches tended to condemn divorce and argue that religious ideas are no longer that
equalised the grounds for divorce between the sexes often refused to conduct marriage services influential e.g. church attendance rates
(making it faire) and have widened the grounds for involving divorcees. Mitchell and Goody identify continue to decline. As a result of
divorce making divorce easier. When the grounds were the rapid decline in the stigma attached to divorce secularisation, the traditional opposition of
equalised in 1923, this was followed by a sharp rise in since 1960s. As divorce becomes more socially the church to divorce carries less weight in
female divorce petitions. Also, the widening of the acceptable, couples become more willing to resort society and people are less likely to let religion
grounds in 1969 to ,,irretrievable breakdown made to divorce as a means of solving their marital get in the way of their decision to divorce.
divorce easier to obtain. The introduction of legal aid problems. Divorce has been ,,normalised ­ linked to
in 1949 also lowered the cost of divorcing. rise in the public sphere (media) as well.
Rising Expectations of Marriage Changes in the Position of Women Freedom & Choice (Post modern)
Functionalists such as Fletcher argue that marriage is Women are now less financially dependent upon Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995) argue that
actually increasingly valued, indicative by high rates of their husbands because of their participation in rising divorce rates are the product of a
re marriage. Higher expectations make couples less paid work ­ this is mainly due to equal pay and anti- rapidly changing world in which the traditional
wiling to tolerate an unhappy marriage. This linked to discrimination laws, their greater success in rules, rituals and traditions of love and
the idea of ,,romantic love ­ the belief that marriage education and the availability of welfare benefits. relationships no longer apply. The modern
should be based solely on love and that if love dies; This means that women have the liberation to end world is characterised by individuation &
there is no longer any justification for remaining an unsatisfactory/ empty shell marriage rather than choice, hence women and men today have the
married. Thornes and Collard argue that women value tolerate it. Allan and Crow argue that "marriage is freedom and choice to end relationships rather
friendship and emotional gratification more than men less embedded within the economic system". The than following rules and traditions like they did
do. If husbands fail to live up to these expectations, family is no longer a unit of production, so in the past. Personal relationships between
women may feel the need to look elsewhere. husbands and wives are not necessarily men and women have become a battleground;
economically interdependent. ** they call it the ,,chaos of love.

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Sociological Reasons for Divorce
** Many feminists also argue that many economic changes in society ( recession and rise of female breadwinners/wage earners) have led to a
crisis in masculinity for males and this in itself has itself created a new source of conflict. Divorce may be the outcome of tensions produced
by more women taking over the traditional male role of breadwinner in some households.…read more


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