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Sociology Changes in Marriage and Divorce

Autor:   •  May 6, 2019  •  Exam  •  416 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,465 Views

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Changes in marriage and divorce –

  • The overall number of marriages has fallen and in 2011 just over 236,000 marriages took place
  • Compared with the 1970s people now put off marriage until they are older. This is linked to increased educational and employment opportunities.
  • It is also related to changing attitudes towards premarital sex, which is now generally considered more acceptable.

Same sex marriages-

  • Since 2005 in the uk, same sex couples aged 16 years and over can have their relationship legally recognised as a civil partnership.


  • The amount of people cohabitating has doubles in the last 20 years
  • This increase is linked to changing attitudes towards sex outside marriage.
  • The secularisation process has weakened the religious barrier to cohabitation.
  • The high cost of weddings may also put people off

Increasing divorce-

  • Legal changes have made divorces cheaper and easier to obtain
  • Changing attitudes means that divorce is now more socially acceptable
  • Women in unhappy marriages are less tied to their husbands through economic dependence
  • The medias emphasis on “romantic love” encourages couples to have high expectations.
  • Rising divorce rates has contributed to an increase in one-person households, and lone parent and reconstituted families

Roles in the family-

Segregated conjugal roles

Joint conjugal roles

  • A clear division of domestic labour- tasks are divided by gender
  • The couple spend little leisure time together and have separate interests  
  • No rigid division of household tasks into male and female jobs
  • The couple share much of their leisure time and few separate interests

  • During the early 20th century conjugal roles were segregated
  • Parsons argued that the man takes a more instrumental role as breadwinner
  • The women take the more expressive role as housewife and mother

Symmetrical family

Some sociologists argue that the symmetrical family is typical in Britain. Symmetrical relationships are the opposite but similar. The spouses perform different tasks, but each make a similar contribution to the home.


  • The rise of feminism has influenced women’s attitudes and led them to reject the housewife role
  • Legal changes
  • More effective birth control enables women to combine motherhood with paid work

Family diversity -

Global diversity in families

  • Cross cultural studies show that different family types exist in different cultures
  • A commune is a group of people who share living accommodation, possessions, wealth and property
  • A kibbutz consists of a croup of people who live together communally, and value equality and cooperation between members


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