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Xaquin Perez Sindin Lopez

Topic: Place attachment, deindustrialization and rural mobility: an empirical study.


This article analyses the phenomenon of place attachment in one rural area of industrial decline in the northwest of Spain. The research brings together theoretical and empirical literatures on both deindustrialization and place attachment. After conducting self-administrated postal survey among former industrial workers, a representative sample of 327 former industrial workers was used for analysis. The questionnaire includes Retirement Satisfaction Inventory variables (F. J. Floyd et al, 1992), behavioural (social capital related questions, medical treatment for anxiety, current municipality of residence and others) and attribute variable (birthplace and origin related questions and other socio-demographic variables). Different statistical association test according to variable nature (mainly Chi square, Cramer´s V and regression coefficient) were applied in order to identify statistically significant relationships between
the different variables. Semi-structure interviews and focus groups were also conducted to enrich the research process, accounting for a mixed methods approach. After a rapid deindustrialization process and the implementation of an early retirement plan in the late 90s, 28% of the former workers left the town. Two variable exhibits the highest association. First and foremost, the length of residence: the percentage of former employees who decided to emigrate after retirement is much higher among newcomers than those living in the community for longer, confirming the observed in the literature on place attachment (Lewicka 2011). On the other hand, results show significant relationship between self-reported health status and mobility, being worse among those who decided to leave the town. This article shows the paradox that those who move to urban areas for “better life” exhibits greater problems of post-retirement social adaptation than those remaining in the “depressed” town, while contributing to better understand the relationship between place reputation and mobility.

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