Keywords: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics: General; Regional Development Planning and Policy.
The tradition of Italian comparative political economy - thus of part of economic and political sociology - has distinctive elements that make it original respect to other national sociological traditions in Europe. We trace in Italian community studies of 50' and 60' a research tradition deeply inspiring that part of comparative political economy which has faced territories and cities. In these roots it is possible to find a way for inspiring innovative conceptualizations of the «local». Italian community studies have also cultivated an interesting reflection on the relationship between social research and the «political» dimension. It is still relevant, if not urgent. The article reconstructs the origins and the story of the Italian community studies of the 50's and the 60's and their legacy for large research programs developed since the 80s in the fields of economic and political sociology. Conclusion focuses on the crux of comparison showing how it constitutes a point of great importance to understand the specificity of the Italian tradition of community studies.