The changing pattern marrriage, cohabitation, child bearing, divorce and seperation

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Define civil ceremony
A heterosexual marriage that takes place outside of a church. A non-religious marriage ceremony.
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Define co-habitation
When an unmarried couple live together.
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Define divorce
The legal seperation of a married couple.
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Define the Divorce Reform Act
(1969) This made 'irretrievable breakdown' of marriage a valid sole ground for divorce, established by proving unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion or seperation, with or without consent. This doubled the divorce rate.
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Define empty shell marriage
When a couple contiues to live under the same roof but remain married in name only.
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Define feminism
A sociological pespective that focuses on the oppresion of women. They argue sociology has traitionally taken a 'malestream' viewpoint that ignores women.
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Define first marriage
A marriage in which both partners have never been married before.
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Define the New Right
A conservative political perspective whos supporters believe in self-reliance and individual choice rather than dependence on the state. They are against welfare benefits.
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Define re-marriage
A marriage in which one or both of the partners have been married before.
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Define secularisation
The deline of religion. The process in which religious beliefs, practices and intitutions lose their importance and therefore influence.
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Men could divorce unfaithful wives, women had to prove husbands cruelty or other matrimonal offence in addition to adultery. Divorce was costly
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How many divorces were there in 1921?
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Grounds for divorce equalised for men and women. This caused a sharp rise in ivorce petitions from women.
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Grounds widened to include desertion an cruelty
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Legal aid available making divorce more affordable. Increased the rate of divorce.
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How many divorces were there in 1961?
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Divorce Law Reform Act (came into effect in 1971)
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The minimum period after marriage you could file for a divorce was dropped from three to one.
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Family Law Act encourages couples to seek mediation but allows divorce by agreement after a 'period of reflection'
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Civil partnership act allows legal disolution of a civil partnership on the same grounds as a marriage.
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Appeal Court Ruling: in divorce settlement the priciple of equality applies so the starting point is a 50/50 split of all assets, incluing salaries and pension rights.
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By how much had the divorce rate increase from 1961 to 1969, then from 1969 to 1972?
It had doubled then doubled again.
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How many divorce petitions come from women now compared to 1946?
70% to 37%
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What three kinds of changes in the law about divorce have there been?
Equalising the grounds for divorce between the sexes. Widening the grounds for divorce. Making divorce cheaper.
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What other solutions to unhapyy marriages are there?
Desertion. Legal seperation. 'Empty shell' marriages
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What are some of the explanations for the increase in divorce?
Changes in the law. Declining stigma and changing attitudes. Secularistation. Rising expectations of marriage. Changes in the position of women.
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Ronald Fletcher
He is a functionalist who argues that higher expectations of marriage are a cause of rising divorce rates. In the past marrriage was for economic reasons rather than love so people were less likely to be disappionted byt he lack of intimacy.
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How many women were working in 1959 compared to 2005?
47% to 70%
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Allan and Crowe (divorce rates)
They argue that 'marriage is less embedded within the economic system'. For example there are fewer family farms and the family is no longer a unit of production. Marriage is a 'relationship rather than a contract' so it is more acceptable to end it.
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Jessie Bernard
She observes that women may feel a growing dissatisfation with patriachal marriage. She sees the rising divorce rate as evidence of womens growing acceptance of feminist ideas. They are becoming more concious of oppresion willing to reject it.
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What changes in the patterns of marrage have changed in recent years?
Fewer peolpe are marrying. The number of re-marriages has increased. People are marrying later (average age rose by 7 years btween 1971-2005) Couples are less likely to marry in church.
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Reasons for changing patterns of marriage
Changing attitudes to marriage, secularisation, declining stigma attached to alternatives (co-habititation), changes in the postition of women, fear of divorce, rising age of getting married.
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Reasons for the increase in cohabitation
Declining stigma attached to sex before marriage. Young are likely to accept cohabitation. Increased carrer oppurtunities of women (less need for financial security of husband). Secularisation.
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Ernestina Coast
She said 75% of cohabiting couple plan to marry, for a lot of couples cohabitiation is a 'trial marriage', a temporary stage before marriage.
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Andre Bejin
He argues it is a consious attempt to create a more personally negotiated and equal relationship.
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Reasons for changes in one-person households
Increase in seperation and divorce. Changing status of marriage. Creative singlehood.
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Living apart together
Currently 1 in 10 adults are living apart together. 20% of people see LAT as their ideal relationship
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What key factors have led to an increase in same-sex relationships?
In 1967 male homosexual acts were decriminalised. More recently the age of consent had been equalised with heterosexuals. The civil partnership act 2004 has given same sex couples similar legal rights as married couples.
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Jeffrey Weeks
He sees same sex couples as creating families based on the idea of 'friendship as kinship' where friendships become a type of kinship network. He describes these as chosen families and argues that they offer the same security as hetrosexual families.
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Kath Weston
She describes same-sex cohabitations as 'quasi-marriage' and notes many same sex couples are deciding to cohabit as stable partners. This is a contrast to the 1970's which largely rejected monogamy and family life in favour of casual relationships.
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Allan and Crow (same sex relationships)
They argue that, because of the absence of a legal framework, same-sex partners have had to negotiate their commitment and responsibilities more than married couples. This may have made same-sex relationships both more flexible and less stable.
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David Cheal
Whilst many gay people wanted to have their partnerships legally recgonised, others fear that it limits flexibility and negotiability of relationships. Rather than adopt a 'heterosexual relationship' they wish to retain a status of difference.
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The New Right view of divorce
High divorce rights as undesirable as it undermines the traditional nuclear family. It creates an underclass of welfare dependent lone parents.
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The Feminist view on divorce
High divorce rates as desirable as it shows women are breaking free from the oppression of the patriarchal nuclear family.
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The Postmodernist view on divorce
high divorce rate as giving individuals freedom to choose to end a relationship when it no longer meets thier needs. They see it as a cause of greater family diversity.
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The Functionalist view on divorce
High divorce rate doesn't necessarily prove that marriage as a social institution is under threat.It just shows peolpe's higher expectations of marriage. The high rate of re-marriage shows peoples continuing commitment to the idea of marriage.
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The interactionalist view on divorce
Aim to understand what divorce means to the individual. Morgan argues we can't generalise about the meaning of divorce because every individuals interpratation of it is different.
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Parsons and Fletcher
They argue that the rise in marrital breakdown comes from the fact marriage is increasingly valued. People expect more from a marriage so are more likely to end a relationship which would have been acceptable in the past.
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She argues that the increase in cohabitation as very significant arguing that couples are choosing to cohabit as a long term alternative to marriage. This is reflected in the increase of children born out of marriage.
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He argues that most people do get married at some point in their lives. For example 90% of women today marry in comparision to 70% in the victorian era.
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How many children are currently born now compared to 1971?
4/10. 5 times more than in 1971. However almost all these births are jointly registered by both parents. In most cases they are cohabiting.
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By how much did the average age of a women having her first child rise between 1971-2005?
It rose by 3 years.
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How many women born in 1973 is it estimated will be childless when they reach 45?
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What are two reasons for the changes in childbearing?
A decline in stigma and increase in cohabitation. Women have more options than just motherhood i.e. a career.
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What percentage of families are lone parent?
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What percentage of lone parent families are headed by mothers?
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Reasons for the patterns of lone parent families
Increase in divorce and seperation. Increase in never married women having children. Decline in stigma. Tend to be female headed because of wide spread belief women are more nurturing and divorce courts usually give custody to mothers.
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Charles Murray (new right)
Growth of lone parent familes is a result of over-generous welfare state. It has created a 'perverse incentive' and a 'dependecy culture'.
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On what grouds do critics argues Murray's view of the welfare state is wrong?
Lack of affordable childcare prevents lone parents from working (60% unemployed). Inadequate welfare benefits. Most lone parents are women who generally earn less then men. Failure of fathers to pay maintanance.
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What percentage of families are reconstituted families?
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Ferri and Smith
step families are similar to firat familes in all major respects and the involvment of step parents in childcare is a positive one.
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Allan and Crowe (stepfamiles)
They face particular problems of divided loyal ties and issues such as contact with the non-resident parent can cause tensions.
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Reasons for the patterns in stepfamilies
Stepfamilies are formed from lone parents which means factors causing an increase in lone parents also increase stepfamilies. More children are from the mothers previous relationship as children are more likely to remain with their mothers.
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Reasons for the patterns in stepfamilies
Step families are at greater risk of poverty as there are often more children to support (from current and previous relationships). Some tensions may be the result of lack of clear social norms about how individuals should act in stepfamilies
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Define co-habitation


When an unmarried couple live together.

Card 3


Define divorce


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Card 4


Define the Divorce Reform Act


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Define empty shell marriage


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