Sociology: Changing family patterns (1.5)

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Changing patterns in Divorce

  • More divorce after 1960, peak at 1993.
  • 40% marriages will end in divorce.
  • Mainly women want divorce, 7/10.
  • Couples who will get divorced are those who are young, cohabit, child before marriage, married before.
  • There has been many reasons for the increase:

1) CHANGES IN LAW:

  • Now easier to divorce.
  • Divorce is now cheaper, equal grounds (1923) and wider grounds (1971).
  • Legal aid in 1949 lowered divorce price.
  • Not all marriages are terminated.
  • Desertion - Leaving partner, but legally married.
  • Legal separation - financial and legal affairs seperate, still married.
  • Empty shell - live in same house, just under name,
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Changing patterns in Divorce

2) DECLINING STIGMA/ATTITUDES:

  • Stigma means disproval.
  • Churches condemed divorce.
  • More socially accepted
  • Has become normal, not shameful

3) SECULARISATION:

  • Less religious influence.
  • Church rates declining.
  • Census showed 43% with no religion cohabited.
  • Churches have become softer, fearing losing sections of society.

4)) RISING EXPECTATION OF MARRIAGE:

  • High expectations are often let down.
  • Won't tolerate unahappy marriages.
  • 'Romantic love' ideology is to blame.
  • People used to marry for economic reasons.
  • But remarriages increases shows people haven't loss faith in marriages.
  • Feminists criticise this.
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Changing patterns in Divorce

5) CHANGES IN POSITION OF WOMEN:

  • economic changes, now independent.
  • 70% women working in 2005.
  • Equal pay/Anti descrimination helped equality.
  • Girls have better education access to achieve more.
  • Welfare state has helped.
  • Marriage has become less attached to economy.
  • Conflict of dual burden has resulted in divorce.
  • Dual working couples mean less time for emotion work.

THEORIES VIEW OF HIGH DIVORCE RATES:

  • New right - Disagree, creates dependency.
  • Functionalist - Disagree, family is good, remarriages show people haven't lost faith.
  • Feminist - Agree, Women realising male patriarchy
  • Postmodernist - Agree, more freedom
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Changes in Partnerships

MARRIAGE:

  • Fewer people get married, half than those in 1970.
  • More remarriages, 4/10 marriages. 
  • No more religous ceremonies. 60% in 1980 to 35%.

REASON FOR CHANGE:

  • Changing attitudes, more freedom and alternatives.
  • Secularisation, Church has less influence, 3% with no religion married.
  • Declining stigma, cohabitation and child out of wedlock is acceptable.
  • Changes in women position, more chances, less economically dependent.
  • High divorce rate discourages many.
  • Many post pone marriage for careers.
  • Many prefer to cohabit.
  • People don't marry in Church due to secularisation and view on divorcees.
  • Many still love to get married
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Changes in Cohabitation

COHABITATION:

  • This is increasing.
  • Have sexual relations but aren't married.
  • doubled since 1986 as now they're 2m.

REASONS FOR CHANGE:

  • Declinign stigma on sex out of marriage. 62% for Pre-marital sex.
  • Young prefer to cohabit. 88% of 18-24years agree.
  • More chances for women means they dont need financial secuirity via marriage.
  • Secularisation.

LINK BETWEEN MARRIAGE AND COHABITATION:

  • Many see cohab as a road to marriage, 75%.
  • Many decide to marry if have children.
  • Some see cohabiting as permenant alternative.
  • Cohabit is more equal than patriarchal marriage.
  • Cohabitation is different to everyone.
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Changes in Same sex couples

  • Don't know if it's rose as in the past many kept it a secret.
  • 5-7% adults.
  • More social acceptance and tolerance.
  • Gay was not illegal in 1967.
  • Social policy grants equality
  • 2002, Civil Partnership act gave same sex legal rights as married.
  • Many Gay couples prefer to cohabit.
  • Same sex more responsible than married couples.
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Changes Single person households

  • More people living on their own, 3/10. 3x more than 1961.
  • Many are pension age. 
  • Men under 65 live alone.

REASON FOR CHANGE:

  • More divorce, many mothers win custody.
  • Father likley to leave the home.
  • Marrying later means staying single more.
  • May be older widows.

LIVING APART TOGETHER:

  • Many live apart but are together, 1/10.
  • Many see it as an ideal relationship.
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Changes in Parents and Children

CHILDBEARING:

  • 4/10 children born out of marriage in cohabiting couples because of changes in stigma/attitudes.
  • Women delaying children, motherhood isn't only option for women as they now have careers.
  • Have fewer children than 20th C, record low of 1.63.
  • Many remain childless.

LONE PARENT FAMILIES:

  • 24% of families, 90% by mother.
  • Child in lone parent families is more likely to grow up in poverty.
  • Increased because of more/easier divorce, declining marriage and stigma over birth out of marriage. 
  • Women are more likely to be lone parent as they usually win custody/prefer to be alone.
  • Introduction of Welfare state, but creates dependency culture according to New Right.
  • They can't remove it as it'd increase unemployment in women.
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Changes in Step Families

  • Reconstituted families 10% of all families.
  • Many have kids from past relations.
  • Similar to first families, but more risk of poverty.
  • May have problems if previous partner interferes.

REASONS FOR CHANGE:

  • Lone parent families and divorce increasing.
  • Many mothers have children as they win custody.
  • May be risk of poverty as more children to care for.   

ETHNIC DIFFERENCES:

  • Black Carribean and Africans are mainly lone parent.
  • Can be traced back to slavery and unemployment of black males.
  • Result of disorganisation, but some say blacks value independence.
  • Asians have higher childbearing and extended families.
  • Many live neaby too.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
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The extended family today.

  • Parson's says it's disappeared.
  • Many say it hasn't and still has many positives.
  • Survives in minorities.
  • Extended family is now dispersed.
  • There's beanpole extended family etc.
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