The article deals with the debate concerning Italian development policies. It considers the regulatory changes in Italian legislation, the emergence of new regulatory scales and the outcomes associated with them. It does so by using the insights of economic sociology and political geography. Southern Italy is the focus of the analysis. The article contends that the meaningful shift in development policies has not produced a similar discontinuity in the economic dynamics of the Mezzogiorno. It is explained that it is not the model as such that prevents positive outcomes but rather the complex relationship between the local and the global dimensions. As a consequence, it is suggested that development should be considered again as a socio-political issue and that a more complex perspective should be pursued. The role of the State is believed to be the crux of the problem.
Keywords: Development policies, Mezzogiorno, space, regulation, globalization, State