This article presents the results of a survey on the elite of Asti, aimed at analyzing the cultural processes that hinder the ability of this area to identify and implement new and effective strategies of local development. In this sense, this paper seeks to contribute to the debate on local development and urban governance, proposing a theoretical and methodological integration of sociopolitical approaches, oriented to the analysis of the structural dynamics of power in the process of policy making, and psychosocial approaches, more focused on the role of the process of shared symbolization of reality in orienting social action. Through a mixed method based on positional, reputational, decisional and social networks analysis, the structure of local elite has been identified as organized into four concentric levels of power, highlighting the central role of the economic environment as the main origin of local elite, the presence of interlocking directorates and the interplay between economic and political world in the genesis of the local elite. The analysis of the local elite discourse on the development of Asti, which was conducted according to the methodology of Emotional Text Analysis, identified a cultural process based on the intertwining of two symbolic dimensions related to the image of power and the possible territorial development vocations as a possible cause of the difficulties in identifying new shared visions of development.
Keywords: Local élite, affective symbolizations, Emotion Analysis in Text, local development, power.