9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Civil Society, Participation and Local Government Building I, 2E9

After the Industrial. Élite and the Governance of Change in the Northern Milan

Aim of this paper is the analysis of the local governance of the transformations occurred in the last two decades in an area - the Alto Milanese, in Lombardy - characterized by a strong industrial history, and currently experimenting a deep crisis phase.

Starting by the three focuses of "urbanization", "élite" and "industrialization" we will analyze how mutual influences between those factors contribute to the definition of governance and government of the area. Particular attention will be given to the role played by political, industrial and other "land based" élite in the social and economic development processes of the Alto Milanese area.

The definition and the role of (local) élite is a classical focus of many "traditions", both in political science and sociology, since the classical community studies and works about local political class.

Interest around the role of élites in economic and social development has re-emerged on the new impulse given by "growth machine" theories (Molotch 1976; Logan e Molotch 1987 e 1996). According to/with this theoretical frame business community is (one of) the main actor(s) working at promoting a development pattern, centred on intense land consumption.

Focusing on the case study of one of the earliest and celebrated textile factories of the area - the ?Manifattura Borletti?, actually closed after long declining years - we will discuss the decision making processes about the new destiny of the factory, and the destination for the buildings and for the area.

Through interviews, documents analysis and the examination of the public debate on the case study the paper will give accounts of how local political system has governed the area and which has been the role of local or external élites in this processes. We will also reflect on what "growth machine" and "urban regimes" theories - born in Anglo-Saxon cities - can say about Italian context and which differences should eventually be underlined.