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By the end of the topic you will be able to:- Identify key trends in marriage, divorce and cohabitation Outline the reasons for changes in family patterns
Write down what ‘divorce’ means to you… Decree Nisi Decree Absolute Separation
1. What has happened to the marriage rates since 1961?2. What has happened to the divorce rates?
One of the most significant changes in thefamily in Britain has been the increasedchanges in the number of marriages anddivorces. The number of divorces rose from27,000 in 1961 to around 171,000 by 1999 andby the 1970s it has almost doubled. Britainhas the highest divorce rates in the EuropeanUnion. About 40% of new marriages today arelikely to end in divorce, and if present ratescontinue, more than 1 in 4 children willexperience a parental divorce by the time theyare 16.
In your ‘buzz groups’ create a mind map poster to provide explanations on why you think divorce rates have risen and marriages have fallen.
Changes in Law Declining stigma and changing attitudes Secularisation Rising expectations of marriage Changes in the position of women
Divorce used to be extremely difficult to obtain in 19th century Britain, especially for women Gradually changes in law have made divorce easier3 changes:1. Equalising the grounds of divorce between the sexes2. Widening the grounds of divorce3. Making divorce cheaper
When this happened in 1923 there was a sharp rise in the number of women petitioning for divorce Similarly widening the grounds to ‘irretrievable breakdown’ in 1971 saw a sharp rise in the number of petitions, this doubled the divorce rate almost overnight!
Divorcees have been stigmatised in the past This stigma has declined and divorce is now more socially acceptable
The decline of religious influence in society 43%of people with ‘no religion’ were cohabiting compared with 17% of muslims in 2001 census
Functionalists such as Fletcher (1966) argue that higher expectations are now placed on marriage ‘Romantic Love’ Functionalists are still optimistic about marriage – most people do it! People are not rejecting it as an institution However…. Too rosy a view? What would feminists argue about marriage? Why did people get married pre industrialisation??
Activity What changes have occurred which could explain high divorces rate which reflect the above?
More likely to be in Paid work At work women feel valued, at home they feel Girls performing frustrated that better at school men still don’t do housework Hochschild (1997)More arguments Changesbetween spousesnow that women are Narrower pay gap In paid work (feminism) Spouses have their own separate Welfare state wages
PerspectiveThe New Right Divorce is undesirable because it undermines the traditional nuclear family. Creates an underclass of welfare state dependent single mothers.Feminists It’s desirable because women are ‘breaking free’ from patriarchal control!Postmodernists Gives individuals freedom to choose to end a relationship because it no longer meets their needs.Functionalists Does not necessarily prove that the institution of marriage is under threat. It is simply a result of peoples higher expectations of marriage.Interactionists Aim to understand what divorce means to the individual.
As we saw earlier few Explain…. people are getting married But there are more re-marriages in 2005 4/10 marriages were remarriages People marry later now Less likely to marry in church
With the decline in marriages and increase in divorce rate more couples are ‘cohabiting’ Living together in a sexual relationship but not married
One person household Same sex couples Living with parents For each of the above explain why the numbers have increased.
Read the statistics in your booklet and answer the questions
Read through the section on childbearing and answer the questions.
Complete and peer assess a range of short answer exam questions in order to recap changing family patterns. Outline a range of skills needed in order to complete essay questions successfully!
Explain what is meant by the term ‘serial monogamy.’ (2) Suggest 2 reasons why so few lone parent families are headed by fathers (4) Identify 2 reasons why for the trend toward getting married later in life (4) Suggest 3 reasons for the increase in the number of divorces (6) Now peer assess….
Expand on a point‘for example’ ‘In addition’ ‘furthermore’‘moreover’ ‘this is illustrated by’ To evaluate‘However’ ‘this is limited because’ ‘although’ To use a contrasting perspective to evaluate‘On the other hand’ ‘In contrast to’
1. Always read the question carefully, think about the verb. What is it actually asking you to do? In most cases for a 24 marks essay the verb will be either assess or examine. Before you start think about what the focus of the essay will be, read and use the item!2. Start off by referring back to the question to show the examiner you are attempting to answer it. Try to this at the start of each new paragraph.3. Use connectives to show the examiner you about to evaluate – and what does evaluate get you?! AO2!!!!4. Try to give examples, you also gain marks for ‘interpretation’ that means how you see something!! Can you make a valid point about it? Can you give your own example?5. Use Sociological concepts rather than everyday language, this gains you higher marks, however remember to explain them! This gets you even higher marks!