Towards a theory of change: marginal areas and development policies in a cultural perspective

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The paper aims at exploring the relation between processes of policy-making and cultural dimensions, assuming that cultural and symbolic dimensions are relevant in the ways in which both policy-makers and beneficiaries understand and respond to changes. The frame is represented by the Horizon2020 project Re.Cri.Re.: between the representation of the crisis and the crisis of representations, started in May 2015 and involving several disciplinary fields: psychology, urban and territorial studies, economy, sociology, philosophy. The research opportunity is given by the on-going Italian experience in national and local policies for inner areas called "SNAI" (Strategia Nazionale per le Aree Interne, National Strategy for Inner Areas). This policy, built in 2013, is operating in 20 pilot areas across the country and it will cover, in next years, all the areas defined as "peripheral" or "ultra-peripheral" of Italian peninsula, corresponding approximately to the 60% of Italian territory. In particular, our contribution will focus on the implementation of SNAI in one specific pilot area, Alta Irpinia, a Southern area located in the mountain part of Campania Region. In the following pages we will briefly present the cultural approach to policy-making in general terms, as we are elaborating it in Re.Cri.Re. project. Then we will introduce local development and cohesion policies, framing SNAI and the implementation in Alta Irpinia, with some conclusions concerning how to incorporate a cultural perspective in the processes of policy-making.
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