This chapter presents main results of a survey research carried-out on the territory of L’Aquila as a highly fragile area because of the 2009 earthquake, to deepen the understanding of the relationship between traumatic event and early school leaving and university leaving. The question is whether and to what extent the dropout is related to the catastrophe situation and how it relates to the lack of certainty caused by the existential displacement linked to it. Based on the emerging evidences of a European scale project (the Erasmus+ project ACCESS -KA2), it explores issues related to the risk of dropout by university students and examines the reasons relating to their perseverance to attend school or not, to their ability to be able to graduate and to not leave formal education. It emerges of the results as for individuals residing in a highly fragile territory the risk of dropout becomes more pronounced. The territorial positioning of these subjects seems to reinforce the obstacles linked both to the realisation of personal goals and to the ability to work with others to make significant long-term changes. Linking educational dropout risk factors with territorial variables, the chapter offers new perspectives on innovative strategies. These strategies concern the cultural heritage as an instrument of methodological innovation and disciplinary intersection, capable of contributing to removing some obstacles deriving from “disasters” that become "individual and social catastrophes".
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