Sociology UNIT 1 - divorce

Topic includes;

  1. Theorists of divorce
  2. Reasons for the decrease in marriage/reasons for the increase in divorce
  3. Explanations for the rise in divorce
  4. Reasons for changing patterns of marriage
  5. key trends in marriage in recent years
  6. Key trends in cohabitation
  7. Reasons for the increase in cohabitation
  8. One person households
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Perspectives on divorce

The new right perspective:

  • see a high divorce rate as undesirable as it undermines the traditional nuclear family. In their view, divorce creates an underclass of welfare dependant lone parents which leaves the boys without an adult role model they need

functionalists perspective:

  • have a positive and optimistic view
  • argues that a high divorce rate doesnt necessarily prove that marriage as a social insititution is under threat. They say it is simply the result of peoples higher expectations of marriage today. The high rate of re-marriage shows people continuing commitment to the idea of marriage.
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Perspectives on divorce

Postmodernists perspective:

  •  See a high divorce rate as giving individuals the freedom to chose to end a relationship when it no longer meets thier needs. They see it as a cause of greater family diversity

 Interactionalists perspective:

  • Aim to understand what divorce means to the individual. David Morgan (1996) argues that we cannot generalise about the meaning of divorce because every individuals interpretation it is different. Mitchell & Goody provide an example of this, one of thier interviewees descirve the day her father left as the best day of her life. Whereas another said she has never recovered from here father deserting the family.
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Reasons for the increase in divorce

  • Less social stigma
  • Rising expectations of marriage
  • Easier to obtain
  • Positions of women
  • Socially acceptable
  • Rising expectations of marriage - the false idea of how marriage should work
  • Women independance - women are now able to support themselves
  • Feminist movements - liberation of women
  • Easier to get divorce due to the changes of the law
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Reasons for the decrease in marriage

  • Expensive
  • Cohabitiation - living together
  • Taking each other for granted more when married
  • Women dont depend on men as much - womens liberation
  • Socially acceptable
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Major changes in Family and Household patterns ove

  • Divorce has risen that much and has seen the negatibe effect - which is why they want to revert back to traditionals
  • Same relatonship and one personll households is now more acceptable and Has increased
  • family is changing
  • 40% of marriage end up in divorce
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Explanation of the increase in divorce ( Changes i

  • In 1923 equalising the grounds of divorce between the sexes
  • In 1971 widened the grounds of divorce which meant divorce was much more easier to obtain which led the divorce rate figuires to double overnight
  • in 1949 divorce was made cheaper into legal aid
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Explanation of the increase in divorce (Declining

Stigmas = negative labe, social dissaproval or shame attached to a person

Mitchell & Goody (1997) note an important change since the 1960's have shown a rapid decline in stimma attached to divorce. It is seen as a misfortune nowadays rather than shameful

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Explanation of the increase in divorce ( Secularis

  • Churches have now started to soften their view on divorce and divorcees as they have a fear of losing credibility with large sections of the public and its members.
  • The decline of the influence of religion and its impact.
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Explanation of the increase in divorce ( Rising ex

  • Ronald Fletcher (1962) argue higher expectations are a major problem causing rising divorce rates.
  • Fletcher alos says it is linked to ideology of romantic love - an idea that has been dominant over last few centrues such as disney films.
  • Fletcher says in past couples had very little choice over whom they married - family was seen as a unit of production and was contacted for economic reasons or duty of ones family.
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Explanation of the increase in divorce ( Changes i

  • Improvement in economic position - they are not encouraged to just stay at home whereas in the past they would do.
  • less financially dependant on men, freer to end an unsatisfactory marriage
  • women are more likely to be in paid work.
  • proportion og women working rose from 47% in 1959 to 70% in 2005.
  • Equal pay and discrimination laws - helped to narrow the 'pay gap'.
  • girls better success in education - women no longer have to be dependant on therr husband and no longer need to rely on the welfare.
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Key trends in marriage in the recent years

  • Couples are less likely to marry in a church. 60% of weddings in 1981 were conducted with religious ceremonies but in 2005 they had decreased by 35% were having children outside of marriage.
  • Less people are marrying the rates are at their lowest since the 1920's. There was 17,800 first marriages in 2005 this was less than half in 1970.
  • More re-marriages in 2005 4 out of 10 marriages were re-marriages
  • People are re-marrying later.
  • Changes in position of women - less economically dependant on men
  • Fear of divorce.
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Reasons for changing patterns of marriage ( Secura

  • Churches are in favour of marriage but as the influence declines people feel freer to choose not to marry.
  • 2001 sensus indicates that 3% of young people with no religion was married - this went up 17% of those who had a religion.
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Reasons for changing patterns of marriage ( declin

  • cohabitation, remaining single and havign children outside of marriage are now regarded as acceptable, so that pregnancies are not automatically led to a 'shotgun wedding'.
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Reasons for changing patterns of marriage ( positi

  • women now have better educational and career prospects.
  • women are now less economically dependanct on men - this allows them with a greater freedom not to marry.
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Reasons for changing patterns of marriage ( Fear o

  • Some may be put off marrying as some see it as an increase in likelihood that the marriage will end up in a divorce.
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Reasons for changing patterns of marriage ( changi

  • Less pressure to marry and more freedom for those who are able to choose the type of relationship they desire.
  • The norm that every one should get maried has decrease and weakened massively.
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Key trends in Cohabitation

  • While the number of marriage have decrease the number of cohabiting couples increases.
  • over 2 million cohabiting couples in britain. 1/4 of unmarried adults under the age of 60 are now cohabiting. This has increased twice as much as it did in 1986.
  • the number of cohabiting couples is expected to double again by 2021
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Reasons for the increase in cohabitation ( securli

  • 2001 census, young people without a religion was more likely to cohabit than those with a religion
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Reasons for the increase in cohabitation ( decline

  • In 1989 only 44% of people agreed that 'premarital sex' isnt wrong at all but by 2000 62% took this view.
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Reasons for the increase in cohabitation ( Young p

  • 88% of 16-24 year olds thought it was ok to live together without being married but only 40% of those over 65 agreed.
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Reasons for the increase in cohabitation ( Increas

  • Women may have less need for the financial security of marriage and are feer to opt for cohabitation.
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Cohabitation theorists

Cohabiting = the process towards getting married as the two theorist below believes

  • Robert chester (1985) - argues that most believe cohabitation is the process of marriage.
  • Ernestina Coast (2006) - 75% of cohabiting couples say they expect to marry each other. Many see cohabitation as a tribal marriage and intend to marry only if it goes well. Cohabiting couples also decide to marry if they have children.

Cohabiting = permanent alternative to marriage as the theorist below believes

  • Andre Benin (1985) - argues that cohabitation among some young people represents a concious attempt to create a more personally negoitated and equal relationship than convential patriarchal marriage

Cohabiting = doesnt mean the same thing for every couple theorist below believes

  • Eleanor Macklin ( 1980 ) - argues that the term covers a diverse range of partnerships and the relationship between those who marry and cohabit is a complex and variable one
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same sex relationships - social policy and same s

  • since 2002 - cohabiting couples had the same right to adapt as married couples
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same sex relationships - civil partnership act (20

  • The civil partnership act has gave same-sex couples similiar legal rights to married couples in respect of the following pensions, inheritance tenancies and property.
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same sex relationships - Jeffrey weeks (1999)

  • argues that an increase in social acceptance can explain the trend in recent years towards same sex cohabiation and stable relationships which resemble them being found in hetrosexuals
  • see gays as creating families bases on the idea of 'friendship kindship'
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same sex relationships - Kathy weston (1992)

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Same sex relationships - Allan and crow

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same sex relationships - David Cheal (2002)

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Mysterious Angel :)


Thanks alot :) this has helped so much x

Rebecca Forshaw


I will get it all done soon hun, glad it helped  x

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