Sociological Perspectives on Declining Marriage and Increasing Divorce on…
Sociological Perspectives on Declining Marriage and Increasing Divorce on Society
What replaces married couples?
People’s attitudes towards marriage have change. The idea that marriage is a necessary tradition have declined drastically, marriage is now seen as a choice
Despite the decline of marriage, most people still ‘couple up’ – cohabitation has increased.
Cohabiting couples are more likely to break up, so relationships have become more unstable.
A related factor here is that serial monogamy, rather than out and out promiscuity throughout one’s life appears to be the new norm.
High levels of divorce create more single parent households, as well as more reconstituted families
The New Right/ Functionalists
Would interpret these trends in a negative way, as indicating a decline in morality, and a breakdown of social structure and order
The family is supposed to be the fundamental building block of society, and it is difficult to see what will replace it. Without the family we risk less effective primary socialisation.
Feminists would generally see the decline of marriage as a tradition as a good thing.
Most divorces proceedings are initiated by women which suggests that marriage works less well for women than for men.
Radical Feminists would point out that the increase in divorce has not necessarily benefited women
Children go to live with the mother in 90% cases following a divorce, and single parent families (mostly female) suffer higher levels of poverty and stigma.
The decline of marriage and increase in divorce reflect the fact that we are part of a consumer society where individual choice is central to life.
The end of the ideology of the nuclear family is seen as good, Postmodernists tend to reject the idea that the nuclear family is better than other family forms.
People still value marriage but changes in the social structure make it harder to start and to maintain stable relationships – greater gender equality means it’s harder to please both partners,going, or help with people getting together in the first place.
People now delay getting married not only because of needing to establish a career first, but also because of the increased cost of mortgages and weddings, and because of the increased fear of getting divorced – with cohabiting the new norm before marriage.