Sociology Essay

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Sociology – Divorce Essay Examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage and divorce over the last 50 years or so. (24 Marks) Over the last 50 years or so, the patterns of marriage and divorce have changed significantly, and are still changing in today’s society. The number of marriages have declined as a result of most people are getting married later in life, although cohabitation has increased rapidly due to the changing social attitudes and the divorce rate has increased as changes in law made it easier to obtain. Since the 1970s, there has been a significant decline in marriage, from 480,000 marriages in 1972 to 306,000 in 2000. Women's expectation of marriage and life has increased since 1970s. However there has been a significant increase in divorce. In 2000 there were around 154,600 divorces in the UK; this figure has increased by 12,500 in 4 years to 2004. If this number continues to rise, around 40% of current marriages will end in divorce. In addition people who have been divorced previously take constitute to this amount by an astonishing 20%. New Right thinkers believe that the nuclear family has been undermined by social policies such as divorce legislation and welfare benefits; also they believe that divorce is seen as “too easy” and benefits “too generous” New Right sociologists believe that the increase in single – parent, reconstituted families and the easier access to divorce have led to a breakdown in traditional values. New right sociologists are in favour of marriage but are against the idea of cohabitation and divorce. This is because they believe that a single parent cannot socialize their child/children as well as a married couple can. Functionalist sociologists also share the same views. Rodgers and Pryor, 1998 concluded from the evidence that children of separated parents compared with children whose parents remain

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