1) Changes in the law- equal grounds for divorce, widening grounds for divorce, making divorce cheaper.
2) Declining stigma and changing attitudes- removal of negative label attached to divorce. The decline in stigma means couples more willing to resort to divorce to fix their marital problems.
3) Secularisation- the decline in church influence. The opposition of divorce by churches carries less weight in society- 43% of young people with no religion cohabit compared to 34% of Christians and 11% Hindus.
4) Rising expectations of marriage- Functionalist Ronald Fletcher- higher expectations means couples less likely to willing to tolerate and unhappy marriage. Linked to ideology of romantic love- in the past people went into a marriage with low expectations and were less likely to be dissatisfied by lack of romance and intimacy.- too rosy view- FEMINISTS say main cause of marital conflict and divorce is women’s oppression- Functionalist fail to explain why most divorce petitions come from women/
5) Changes in the position of women- women are now less economically dependent on men so they’re freer to end an unhappy marriage. Feminists argue that the fact that women are wage earners as well as homemakers has created new conflict between men and women increasing divorce.
- Defined family as “The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It included adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.”
Functions of family; Sexual, Reproduction, economic and socialisation