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    Changes in divorce laws

    Bilton, T., K. Bonnett and P. Jones (1987) Introductory Sociology, 2nd edition. London: Macmillan, p. 301

    Library: 301 B599.I


    Bilton et al.

    • attempt to explain the relationship between changes in divorce laws and increases in rates of divorce.
    • disagree with explanations advanced by others

    i) that increased divorce is the result of increased marital instability

    ii) that increased divorce is directly caused by changes in divorce laws.

    Authors' explanation

  • suggest that there has probably always been a degree of marital instability, and that changes in the law have probably provided unhappily married couples with a way out, one that they would not otherwise have had.
  • believe that more liberal divorce laws not a cause of marital breakdown but "a solution where breakdown has already occurred".

  • See N. Hart text - one cause of marital breakdown

    My Comment

    This explanation seems reasonable but based only on a consideration of changes in the legal system. It seems a bit narrow. The text does not consider why divorce laws themselves have changed. Could this be the result of certain fundamental changes in society? What might these be?

NOTE: For further activities on reading and notetaking for this essay topic on 'Divorce', go to the Language and Learning Online Essay Writing tutorial. The tutorial also provides a sample essay which builds on these notetaking activities.

Topic label for notes

Bibliographic information including page number

Library catalogue number (for future reference)

Note the logical structuring of the notes - underlining, indentation, numbering.

A summary statement reflecting the writers' purpose in the text.

The use of appropriate reporting language to reflect the writers' purpose of disagreeing with other explanations.

The use of appropriate reporting language to reflect the writers' purpose of suggesting a possible alternative explanation

The use of appropriate reporting language to reflect the writers' belief / opinion about the relationship between changing divorce rates.

Cross-reference to a text which expands on the cause of marital breakdown.

Quotations are indicated in the notes with quotation marks to show that the text has not been paraphrased

Your own comment (this is identified as a separate note to paraphrases and quotations)

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