Changing Family Patterns

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1. Changes in the law

- Equalising the grounds

- Widening the grounds

- Making divorce cheaper

Other solutions:

- Desertion

- Legal separation

- 'Empty shell' marriage

2. Declining stigma + changing attitudes

- Mitchell and Goody (1997)

3. Secularisation 

4. Rising expectations of marriage

5. Women's increased financial independence

6. Feminist explanations

7. Modernity + Individualisation

Meaning of high divorce rate

The New Right: Undesirable, undermines marriage and the traditional nuclear family

Feminists: Desirable, women are winning against men

Postmodernists/Individualisation thesis: Freedom and Choice

Functionalists: Not necessarily a threat to marriage 

Interactionists: The aim understand what divorce means to the individual



Marriage has changed and the number of people getting married has varied


1. First Marriages- Similar reasons for the increase in divorce

2. Changing attitudes to marriage- Less pressure to marry, more freedom

3. Secularisation- Churches are in favour of marriage, but have little influence

4. Stigma- Cohabitation + having children outside marriage = Acceptable

5. Position of women- Better education/careers; less economically dependent on men 

6. Fear of divorce-


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