changing family patterns


Explanation for divorce increase

Changes in law-

  • Divorce reform act (1969)
  • Irretrievable breakdown (1971)

This widened the reasons for a divorce- used to only be allowed a divorce for adulty however now a divorce is allowed simply for just falling out of love.

Women can now also file for divorce                          

Legal aid- divorce is now made cheaper, more people can afford.

A03- Liberal feminists- this allowed women more freedom and choice.

Radical feminists- want more freedom from men and more laws

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Explanation for divorce increase

Decline in stigma-

Less of a negative label from society associated with divorce.

It is still seen as unlucky or unfortunate but its just more accepted that its happened. 

A03- Individualsation thesis- we now focus more on an ourselves, we just divorce if unhappy. 

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Explanation of divorce increase

Changes in womens positions-

Women have an increased financial independence

They've broken through the glass ceiling into the high up, well paid jobs (were typically male), they may also use pooling so put any money into a shared account but also has the freedom to choose to keep however much she wants for herself.

This means there's an increase in divorce because women can now financially support themselves whereas in the past women were economically dependent on their male partner.

  • Equal pay act 

A03- Wc aren't financially independent so need to be with a man to be financially stable, no GCSE's for example to get a well paid job to be independent. 

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Explanation for divorce increase

Pure relationship- Giddens

This means the partners are together for love not money, if you fall out of love then you leave.

In post modernity we have the freedom to do what ever we want 

Now there is a 'rising expectation of marriage'- it gives each person freedom to leave

A03- Now people are cohabitationg more than marriage so divorce rates are lower. In a pure relationship one partner may be scared that the other will change (for the worse) in marriage so would prefer not to get married.

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Explanation for marriage decrease

Womens position-

Women now have high paid jobs and careers ever since breaking through thr glass ceiling so don't need to get married for financial stability from their partner now because they can supply this for themselves.

Women used to marry as soon as possible so they could go from the family financially supporting her to her husband then supporting so she never had to worry about making money or having a job

A03- Radical feminists- They like that women aren't getting marriage as they think that the family oppresses women and that men should be seperate from women. 

Liberal feminists- who want men and women to be equal, say we are moving into a place where women have the power, they're career focused.

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Explanation for marriage decrease

Pure relationship-

The rising expectations of marriage means that less people are getting married out of fear that their partner may change once they're married and seem as though the relationship is based on love, if this love is lost the couple would have to go through a divorce rather than if they were unmarried just a breakup.

For this reason marriage is less common and caused a decrease and more are cohabitating.

A03-Chester- Non-conventional family- cohabitating is a trial marriage, they're okay with this because the couple will ultimately get married into a nuclear family, so marriage always happens but just may take longer.

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Explanation for marriage decrease- FINISH


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Explanation for marriage decrease

Fear of commitment/divorce

Women fear that when getting a divorce the changing of life style or fear having to get the money together for a divorce 

A03- Remarriage is high- no fear of divorce as they're happy to marry again so miust be a different reason, not fear. Allan and Crow talk about remarriage.

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Pure relationship- they're scared to marry as their partner may change.

Their is less stigma attached the cohabitating instead of marriage.

Women can have freedom to stay or leave whenever they want easily

Same sex families cohabitate becausee they want to get away from traditional gender domains

A03- heterosexual couples also want to get away from traditional gender domains but they can't, men just wash the car and woman hoovers. 

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More women are career focused so want to build themselves a good career and then think about having children.

Children are an economic liability, so expensive.

Contraception is more effective and readily available so people can choose when or whether they want children.

A decrease in infant mortality rate- less children dying before first birthday.

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Same sex

Same sex families are much more individual and have the choice.

The live in chosen families so have the freedom and choice to live life how they want too- Weeks

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Ethnic differences

  • Black families- mostly maritofocal due to history, slavery took men and made women need to step up and take control of the family.
  • Asian families- extended due to their culture so brought their whole families with them for support.
  • Polish- multiperson households- the Father normally comes alone to work and send money home to their families. All the men may live in the same household making it a multiperson.
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