Daniele Vignoli

Daniele Vignoli

ITALY’S LOWEST-LOW FERTILITY IN THE TIME OF UNCERTAINTY
Daniele Vignoli


This presentation argues that the role of uncertainty in family life courses needs to be conceptualized and operationalized taking into account that people use works of imagination, producing their own narrative of the future. These socially-constructed narratives are crucial in our understanding of family-related choices. To outline such an approach, I review contemporary drivers of Italy’s lowest-low fertility placing special emphasis to the role of uncertainty fueled by globalization, technological change, and – more recently – the Covid-19 disaster. Based on a set of recent empirical findings, I discuss the effects of the objective (labor-market related) and subjective (individuals’ perceptions, including future outlooks) sides of uncertainty. The findings suggest that the sole use of objective measures – although important – provides an only partial view of Italy’s fertility drivers. The specter of the future – also channeled by media-narratives of the economy – appears crucial.