The considerable rate of global social, economic, political, and demographic changes leads to increasing demands on mobility and flexibility of persons and institutions. As a consequence, new patterns of contingency and constancy, movement and integration, work and family are emerging. An extended mobility of employees is both a requirement and a precondition of the knowledge-based society and essential for social and territorial cohesion in Europe.
One of the key challenges Europe faces in this situation is to understand how to encourage the flow of people and ideas across Europe without creating impairments regarding family formation, social integration, and individual well being. To improve this understanding is the main objective of this comparative research, covering six comprehensively selected European countries: both old and new EU members, and an associated country, representing varying levels of economic development, demographic situation, social environments, and cultural traditions.
The study is targeted at:
- mapping the demands and potentials of job mobility across selected regions, and identifying the barriers and triggers influencing the readiness to become mobile
- identifying the consequences of job mobility for family formation (marriage, fertility, divorce), family relations (child care, coping, conflict management, division of labour), social integration, and individual well being
- assessing the gender-specific issues in the field of mobility with a special focus on women, as our previous research suggests the costs of job mobility are higher for women
- developing suggestions for adequate political measures to advance quality of life of mobile employees and their families in Europe, and balancing demands against readiness to move.
The theoretical conception will be based on a dynamic social-structural approach on the macro-level, combined with a rational-choice approach and stress theory on the micro-level of acting people.
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