Political government and governance: strategic planning and the reshaping of political capacity in Turin


Turin has always been peculiar among Italian cities, because of the long–standing dominance of the Left in municipal politics and because of the massive presence there of the biggest Italian industrial group — the vehicle manufacturer, FIAT. Torino Internazionale is a strategic plan currently being implemented by the present Centre–Left majority on the City Council, which is largely representative of local civil society. The plan has the potential to transform traditional governance in the city. This article begins by analysing difference and complentarity between the two notions of ‘government’ and ‘governance’ and attempting the theoretical integration of an institutionalist perspective into analysis of the governance processes; it then goes on to demonstrate that the proper logic of urban government in a governance process is to strengthen and increase the number of exchanges and interactions within policy processes and to integrate them through institutionalization of the urban territory as a setting for such interactions. In the governance of Turin, political regulation seems to be creating linkages between an exchangist–aggregative perspective and an institutional–integrative perspective. These two aspects of governance seem to reinforce each other. The exchangist processes involved in micro–projects tend to consolidate the urban network of actors and the city as a cohesive society, while the institutional aspect of the meta–project tends to structure the setting for, and give meaning to, interactions between urban actors. Thus, the apparent fragmentation of the strategic planning process is strengthening Turin as a collective actor and giving the municipal institution a new, nodal role.