This paper –which was delivered as “Lecture 2003” of the Associazione Manlio Rossi Doria - begins with an investigation into the crisis of the “Fordist welfare system” and its three main social institutions: the nuclear family, the large firm, and the “Welfare State”. These institutions long guaranteed economic security for workers and pensioners, but limited their chances of self-fulfilment in the professional field. Today radical changes are taking place in the labour market and the family, while the “map” of social risks has also undergone drastic change. Economic insecurity and job precariousness are growing, but – at the same time - new chances are opening up for social and professional mobility. The second part of the paper surveys the recent social and employment policies adopted in certain European countries, which outline a new welfare system, better suited to reconcile social security and individual self-fulfilment.
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