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Sociological Explanations For The Increase In Divorce Rate

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Introduction

Sociological Explanations For The Increase In Divorce Rate Divorce is the legal termination of marriage. Over the last forty years there has been a significant increase in the rates of divorce. There are several reasons for this increase, some are because of changes in law, and some are because of changes in society. In 1911 there were just 859 petitions for marriage, of which, three quarters were granted. Compare this to the 167,100 divorces in 2004. Firstly, it has been more socially acceptable to get a divorce. Years ago you would probably have been labelled negatively because of it, perhaps because it was seen as a "sin". Having a divorce will no longer affect your career, as it would have done so in the past. ...read more.

Middle

Also, there is less tolerance in a marriage today. Graham Allan and Graham Crow (2001) state that "incompatibilities which were once tolerated are now seen as intolerable" they go on to say that when there was a loss of love between a marital couple it was seen as "unfortunate, but bearable", but because of new law you can easily get out of this loss of love, through the clause of "irretrievable breakdown", which was included in the 1969 Divorce Reform Act. Today women are more independent; they can get a job, with equal pay (although feminists would beg to differ) and support themselves on their own income. Around 3/4 of divorces today are petitioned by women rather than men and about 7 out of ten of all divorces are granted to women. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, research suggests otherwise. The British Social Attitudes Survey (2001) outlines that most people do not see marriage as "just a piece of paper", on the other hand, they see cohabitation as a reasonable alternative to marriage. Functionalists would also argue that because the family have adapted to the requirements of the economic system strains are put upon them. Edmund Leech (1967) says that the nuclear family suffers from an "emotional overload", as an effect there is more conflict in a marital relationship. Increasing life expectancy is another factor as to the increase in divorce rates. People live longer, so they are more likely to get bored of their relationship, as they have to live with their partner for longer. So there is more time for a marriage to go wrong and breakdown. ...read more.

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