Employment and structural change following plant closure: Preliminary data from South Tyrol (Northern Italy)
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The PhD research project deals with the social change and coping strategies of individuals and society in rural areas, who are affected, in form of operational closure of the largest employer, by a variation of structural conditions (labour market, family structure, social community, regional and structural development etc.). It addresses the impact of work-based insecurities, rising social inequalities within and across nations, with a specific regional focus on South Tyrol – a multicultural, rural area in northern Italy, bordering Austria and Switzerland. It adds an example of plant closure in a small rural area and refers to a different industry and region than much of the existing literature. They moved some of their legitimacy from high and stable prosperity and on the labour market, there was virtually full employment. The current crises and decline of available jobs leads to contradictory everyday-life experience of individual citizens; their "new normal" involves irregular work histories (with the various forms of precarity, temporary and/or part-time work) rather than a lifelong permanent job (Beck 1986, 2008). It now applies in this research project to move forward and to look at the coping strategies. Resilience research focuses on the resources and protective factors of people and asks what helps people to cope with difficult conditions successfully: to overcome the crisis and to come out of the crisis strengthened.