Exploring Limbo: The experience of job-loss and unemployment in a jewellery city in Italy

  • Michele Filippo Fontefrancesco Università degli Studi Scienze Gastronomiche Bra
unemployment, ruins, “Limbo”, community of practices, economic crisis


The article investigates the experience of job-loss and the following unemployment. Based on the ethnographic research conducted in Valenza, Italy, between 2008 and 2012, the article challenges an interpretation of unemployment as a liminal phase. I argue former workers experience unemployment as a “Limbo” – an existential condition underpinned by the ambiguity of being and at the same time not-being a worker. The exploration of this “Limbo” sheds light on the emotional, physical and symbolic labour that laid-off workers undertake facing their new condition. This research offers elements to read the loss of a job as an exit from a community of practices and to investigate the ways in which individual negotiate this departure.


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How to Cite
Fontefrancesco, Michele Filippo. 2016. “Exploring Limbo: The Experience of Job-Loss and Unemployment in a Jewellery City in Italy”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (2), 519–537. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v11i2.10.