Thesis Open Access
This work presents the results of a research regarding the élite of Asti and the cultural factors that determine its role in the local governance performance. Starting from determining the difficulties of this territory to elaborate a shared vision of a new and effective trajectory of future development, the research aimed at focusing on the dynamics of power and of shared meanings that hinder this process, with the purpose of identifying possible strategies of change. The composition and stratification of local elite and features of local decision-making process were identified through a mixed method approach, based on positional, reputational, decisional and social network analysis. The analysis of the elite’s discourse about local development highlighted a strong polarization both concerning the self-representation of local power and the possible levers of development. On the one hand, an image of power as a closed system, almost exclusively focused on its self-reproduction, in contrast with a more flexible one, based on the management of a territory through local services administration. On the other hand, an expectation of development opportunities almost automatically arising from landscape and natural resources in contrast with an idea of development more based on the opportunities arising form cultural heritage (Palio and local theatre tradition), which could create synergies with University’s and local tourism’s development strategies.