A New Opportunity for Comparative Urban Studies in Italy
The paper starts from an apparent paradox: the book of Casavola and Trigilia (La nuova occasione. Città e valorizzazione delle risorse locali, Donzelli 2012) presents important results, relevant methodological innovations, and offers many clues for urban political economy. But it has been almost ignored by urban studies in Italy and abroad. It is not a single case for urban studies. The paper discusses the main contributions of the book, and its euristics. It focuses on the distinction between endowments (resources, forms of capital) and activation processes for the explanation of urban economic development. It discusses the contemporary crisis of comparative political economy in urban studies, and some structural factors of fragmentation of the eld. Later on, it explores the diffusion of depoliticized approaches to the study of power in contemporary urban studies. Looking for a more pragmatist approach to urban issues, it points to what urban studies (and urban sociology in particular) could learn from cities and their governance modes, not to waste their resources but to activate them at best. The main idea is that this book and the story of its reception have something to tell not only concerning euristics for urban research, but about politics of urban research too.
Keywords: Urban studies; Political economy; Local resources