Essay on Changes in the Rate of Divorce

609 Words Jan 15th, 2014 3 Pages
Using the information from Item B and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of changes in the rate of divorce.

Divorce means the legal termination of a marriage. The rate of divorce rose rapidly from the 1940s to the 1990s where it has levelled off at a rate of about 40% of marriages end in divorce. Sociological explanations focus on changes to the laws, the role of women, secularisation, changing expectations of marriage, and changes in society itself.

Item B suggests that the British marriage pattern is similar to trends in other European countries, especially those that are less religious. This may be explained by the idea that people in religious societies are more likely to stay in empty shell marriages rather than get
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Hart believes that women may get frustrated with this and that this frustration can lead to divorce. Clearly women are only in this situation because the law allows them to, but because they financially independent they now have the resources necessary to walk away from their marriage.

The New Right are worried about divorce because they believe single parent families to be inferior to two parent families and they think high divorce rates show loose morals and are evidence of people not taking marriage seriously. However, functionalists recognise that the high divorce rate may actually reflect a higher, not lower value on marriage. Because people expect marriage to be perfect, like a Hollywood movie, they are more likely to move to divorce.

Beck and Beck-Gernsheim agree that love has become very important to people. They argue that because we live in such a rapidly changing society we have become more dependent upon love to help us deal with the stress in our lives. These writers, influenced by postmodernism, believe that because we have so much choice and are increasingly selfish, the decision to divorce becomes more likely. This is not a reflection of giving up on marriage but a step towards the next one, which people hope will be better.

In conclusion, explanations of the divorce rate reflect other patterns in

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