Marriage has increased in popularity, reaching a peak in 1971. Since then people have decided to ditch the stereotypical cereal packet nuclear family and live as singletons or to cohabit with a partner. There has been a significant decline in the number of marriages, from 459000 in 1971 to 250000 in 2001. However cohabitation had been rising in today’s society modern society. New Right thinkers have seen the trends as a sign of the breakdown of the family and have argued for a return to ‘traditional values’.
So an arguably more important reason as to why there has been a change in the divorce rate would be due to the declining stigma which society attaches to divorce. A combination of society’s exposure to the divorce cases of famous couples in the media and in everyday lives has lead to divorce becoming normalised, when in the past it would have been seen as shameful. This factor influences the change in the divorce rate because as its social disapproval lessens and divorce becomes more socially acceptable, couples become more willing to resort to divorce as a means of solving marital problems. A reason for wide society’s change of attitude towards divorce could be due to a decline in the influence of religion; which had once instilled a greater sense morality, shared norms and shared values into British society. The 2001 census shows that 43% of young people with no religion were cohabiting.
2. Assess the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm. * People entering higher education; becoming more independent from parental control, causing a rise in cohabitation. * Changing position of women, allowed to divorce, producing lone and diverse families * Laws changed; civil partnership legal, hence same sex families developing. * Laws such as Child support agency, reinforce nuclear families; men paying for child.
The main and most important reason for the decrease in marriages and increase in divorces was the fact that changing attitudes towards them. People now believe that is alright to get divorce is they are not happy in their marriage and with that the stigma towards divorces (Goody)had decreased as now divorces are day to day basis like the way we see in magazines articles about celebrities getting divorce and no one is against it anymore, when as before older members of the family would make the young couple stay together doesn’t matter what as that’s how they have been told. That the same for marriage as more and more people wants to cohabitate with their partner rather than get married as women now have more opportunities to work and set own rules about their life’s that before wasn’t possible. This leads to second important reason for the changes is which is the changes in laws. since women are earning money now they can afford to make divorce petition and the divorces had become cheaper.
There are many reasons for changes in family size over the past 100 years. Family size has been changing in all of the world’s industrial societies. One of the main reasons of changes in family size is that divorce rates have increased dramatically. This can be seen by figures showing that in 1950, there were 40,000 divorces across England and Wales and in 2005 there 153,399 across the same area. The increase in divorce has led to more reconstituted families, singlehood and single parenthood, therefore the family size has generally decreased apart from in cases where reconstituted families have been formed.
Other reasons can be things such as declining stigma and changing attitudes. It is now seen and respected by the public to divorce if want to end your marriage. Whereas before it had been looked down on and a act of shame. Now that it no longer exists people are more confident to divorce without the judgement of society. Mitchell and goody (1997) claim that important changes since the 1960's has rapidly declined stigma attached to divorce.
Half Term Assessment 1. Polyandry mean a woman has two or more husbands 2. The two functions the nuclear family can perform are 3. The three reasons for change in divorce rates since 1969 are that its now easier to get a divorce, people’s views on religion have changed which means they don’t take marriage seriously anymore so they are likely to divorce and they have changed because people expect a lot in a relationship 4. The Marxist view that the main role of the family is to serve the interests of capitalism.
Mitchell and Goody note that an important change since the 1960s has been the rapid decline in the stigma attached to divorce. As stigma declines and divorce becomes more socially acceptable, couples become more willing to resort to divorce as a means of solving their marital problems. This has lead to a sharp increase in divorce rates over recent years. In turn, the fact that divorce is now more common begins to ‘normalise’ it and reduces the stigma attached it. Important and influential celebrities also went through divorce during this time and so made it seem to the public that it was even more acceptable.
Examine the reasons for change in the divorce rate since 1969. (24 marks) It has been noticed that since the late 1960’s the divorce rate has dramatically increased. For example in 1961 two couples per thousand were getting divorced however thirty years on in 1991 it increased to thirteen couples per thousand that were resulting in a divorce. In terms of sociological perspectives such as Feminism and New Rights, this change can be analysed as both good and bad social change. Many sociologists within these perspectives have given various explanations for why the rate has increased so greatly, such as: changes in legislation, declining stigma of divorce, secularisation, rising expectations of marriage and change in women’s expectations.
“Examine the reasons for changes in the divorce rate since 1969” In the past 30 or 40 years, there have been some major changes in the family and household patters. Since the 1960’s, there has been a great increase in the number of divorces in the UK. The number of divorces doubled between 1961 and 1969, and doubled again by 1972. The upward trend continued, peaking in 1993 at 189,000. Since then, numbers have fallen slightly, but where still pretty high at 157,000 in 2001 – about six times higher than in 1961.