Considering marriage and family life in Britain, North Ireland and Scotland have lower rates of marriage due to differing religious and cultural structure (Irwin 1994: 129). By virtue of being in Europe, Britain is also a member of the European Economic Community. Anderson (1991) regards them as imagined communities or group of people bound together by their habitat.
Emile Durkheim recognized two types of social solidarity: mechanical and organic solidarity (Somerville 2011). Mechanical solidarity is present for those who live together and are mostly bound together by kinship ties. They develop norms that dictate their behaviour and which bind them together. Deviation from acceptable behaviour or norms is considered a crime against the community and is punishable. However, as the community develops and enlarges, people move different ways and this solidarity is broken (Irwin 1994). For example, in Britain after industrialization most people moved to towns to look for greener pastures (jobs) leading to urbanisation. Business run by family members rarely exist anymore giving rise to large factories and industries. Here in factories, division of labour is complex thus necessitating organic solidarity. People performing different tasks collaborate and depend on each other for the well-being of all. These people are thus held together by other interests besides place. They may share same religious beliefs, sexual orientation, occupation or ethnic origin (Crow & Allan 1995). For example, we may have a ‘gay or lesbian’ community or a protestant or catholic community. Although families rarely meet like in the past since they are scattered, they communicate often due to improved communication. There are also changes in family life as in contemporary Britain. the family does not depend on the man as the ‘bread winner’.