Changing Family Patterns- Divorce

AS Sociology Families and Households. Changing Family Patterns- Divorce.

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 05-11-09 20:12

Why are divorce rates rising?

1) Changes in law...divorces were made cheaper in 1949 so more people could afford it. Divorce you be allowed for more reasons- 'not getting on' is a valid reason for divorce now. Divorces are now easier to obtain.

2) Changing attitudes... in the past divorce had been stigmatised. Divorced women were seen as 'damaged goods'. Nowadays divorce is just seen as misfortunate and divorced people will not be judged. Divorced is being normalised.

3) Secularisation... religion no longer influences the majority of society so the church opposing to divorce now holds no weight.

4) Rising expectations... Fletcher (a functionalist) says that people have high expectations of marriage, and when it's not as good as it looks, they divorce. He says "Couples won't tolderate an unappy marriage." The romantic love ideology shows that marriage is based on love, not financial reasons like it used to be, so if love dies, marriage dies.

5) Changing position of women... women can now work and do not need a man to be financially stable. Allen says that families are not a unit of consumption and don't need each other to get by- women can be independant.

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What do other perspectives say about divorce?


High divorce rates does not mean that marriage is under threat. If this was the case then there would be no remarriages. The expectations of marriage have simple got higher.


They see divorce as desirable because it means women are breaking free from the oppression of patriarchy.

Interactionists: Every individuals experience if difference. Mitchell and Goody interviewed people about their parents divorce. Some said it was horrible, but some said it was the best day of their lives.

New right: Divorce is undesirable as it breaks up the nuclear family. Divorce creates welfare dependant female lone parents.

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