• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in todays postmodernist society

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in today?s postmodernist society According to Marxists and functionalists, in modern society an individual?s identity is largely fixed and can be generalised. Marxists see our identity as stemming from our class position, while functionalists see it as a result of being socialised into a shared culture. However, some sociologists believe we are now moving into a new and very different type of society. The social change, that began to accelerate 300 years ago, has continued at such a pace that the theories and assumptions we had about modern society no longer explain the society we find around us. A postmodern society is a post-industrial society in which change is increasingly rapid, where people have lost faith in the ability of science to bring about progress. While the Rapoports identify a range of types of family diversity, postmodernists such as David Cheal (1993) go much further. Postmodernists argue that we no longer live in the ?modern? world, with its predictable, orderly structures. Instead, society has entered a new chaotic postmodern stage where in today?s society family structures are fragmented and individuals have much more choice in their lifestyles, personal relationships, and family arrangements. As a result family life has become more diverse than even the Rapoports recognise. ...read more.


On the other hand, many couples see cohabitation as a permanent alternative to marriage. This proves that there is less of a traditional social stigma attached to living with someone out of wedlock. Child bearing outside of marriage has also become more common with only a third of people aged 18-24 who think marriage should come before parenthood. Divorce is another major cause of changing family patterns and greater family diversity. For example, most re-marriages involve a divorcee, and divorce creates both lone-parent families and one-parent households. Since the 1960?s there has been an increase in the amount of divorces in the UK, doubling between 1961 and 1999 and doubled again by 1972. The upward trend continued peaking in 1993 at 180,000. Numbers fell slightly since then with 157,000 divorces in 2001- about six times higher than in 1961. This rate means that about 40% of all marriages will end in divorce. The increase in divorce is due to; changes in laws, declining stigma and changing attitudes, secularisation, rising expectations of marriage and the changes in the position of women. Divorce was very difficult to obtain in the 19th century, especially for women. Gradually changes in the law have made divorce easier. When the grounds for divorce were equalised for men and women in 1923, this was followed by a sharp rise in the number of divorce petitions from women. ...read more.


In conclusion I think there are still many people who favour marriage. Although slowly, but surely old beliefs are changing. This phenomenon is triggered by social evolution, no one can stop it. The amount of people who value marriage has decreased due to the changes in society, however, in some cultures such as East Asian, the importance of marriage has remained a necessity for a successful life. However, if people choose different alternatives to marriage and are satisfied with their personal relationships, a legal document shouldn?t make it any less valued or valid. I also agree with the feminist perspective that it?s a positive sign that women are breaking away from the patriarchal family image in which households and relationships are led by men. By breaking away from their control, women are progressing even further with the ideology that both genders should be equal. In the long run I think that marriage will always have valued aspects, but people will continue to have higher expectations and will refuse to subject themselves to anything less than what they think is the perfect union, especially as it?s so much easier to change a relationship status? nowadays as there is far less stigma attached to deciding to cohabit or getting a divorce from an unhappy marriage. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Family & Marriage section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Family & Marriage essays

  1. Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, co-habitation and divorce rate ...

    Parental control over children has decreased over the past 30 years. The expansion of higher education means that increasing number of young people are leaving home at an earlier age for reasons other than marriage. There were 173, 000 female undergraduates in the UK in 1971 compared with 602,000 in 2001.

  2. Is the modern family breaking down or is it simply changing?

    Whereas fathers saw themselves as heads of their households and the breadwinners. On the other hand, just like Ballard's study Bhatti established that some evidence suggested that the younger generation was moving away from some traditional structures. In four of the families the older brother had married white women causing clashes between the parents and the children.

  1. Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce ...

    Factors that may inspire individuals who choose to marry at a later time in life are numerous, amongst which are, the gradual feeling of disenchantment regarding the fact of being single, the actual fear of growing old alone or quite simply that they feel that they are finally 'ready' for marriage (Mansfield & Collard, 1988).

  2. Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce ...

    Feminists believe in the independence of women, both socially and financially, and view marriage as oppressive to women due to male domination within marriage. They reject the idea that women should find fulfilment in homemaking and childbearing, and so welcome the decline of marriage, and the increase in cohabitation.

  1. Gender roles/expectations that exists in contemporary Japanese society

    Recent studies talk about some changes of stereotypic portrayals of men and women and also are investigating changes in gender stereotyping over time. As example, in one online magazine we can find that ?although some indigenous gender stereotyping was evident, several traits previously associated with Japanese women (devoted, obliging, rattle-brained, superstitious)

  2. Examine the changes in the rate of divorce since 1969

    The decline in stigma (the negative label attributed to divorce) and the changing attitudes of divorce have meant that it has become more socially acceptable as couples are more likely to see divorce as a way to solve marital problems.

  1. Examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last ...

    all, which as a result will have an influence the figures of single households. Similarly, the number of remarriages has also drastically increased in recent years. Remarriages increased from 57000 in 1961 to 126000, almost forty-six per-cent of all marriages in 2000.

  2. According to the functionalist sociologist the family is key institution of society, as it ...

    Moreover, Parsons View of the socialization process can be criticized. He sees it as one-way process, with the children being pumped full of culture and their personalities being moulded by powerful parents however, he ignores the two-way interaction process between parents and children, where the children could be twisting their parents around their little finger.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work