Family Relationships, Sociology Of
Family relationships have undergone significant change in many Western societies during the last twenty-five years, to such a degree that the American historian Francis Fukuyama has called this development the “Great Disruption.” In the United Kingdom, to illustrate, there were several major demographical characteristics associated with this phenomenon between 1960 and 1997. First, there was a decline in fertility, which fell by one third. Second, extramarital births increased from 5 to 37 percent of live births. Third, the proportion of households made up of traditional family groups, including adults and children, shrank while the number of single-person households increased from 11 to 28 percent. Similar trends are evident elsewhere in Europe and in North America. These social changes have triggered important developments in family law and family policy. For instance, in the U.K. Divorce Reform Act 1969, divorce moved away from the traditional basis of a matrimonial offense, with guilty ...