Territorial disparity and ambivalent development: the case study of Sicily The economic disparity between the North and South of Italy is one of the most studied subjects of economic sociology and a field of co-operation between different social sciences. Statistics, figures and results of the many studies about the economic transformations and the effects of incentive policies need to be considered in order to analyse the complex socio-economic scenario of South Italy and its relationship with the rest of the country. This is the objective of the present essay, which looks to the social and economic transformations in one region, Sicily, that in the last ten years has been little Sociologia del lavoro, n. 110/2008 focussed on and where the problems and characteristics of Southern Italy seem to be emphasised. Therefore the study considers the trend of some economic indices (Gdp, consumptions, investments, employment, productivity) and the effects of some incentive policies widely applied in the region (policies of negotial programming and policies of industrial clustering). Our analysis stresses the ambivalences of the Sicilian development and underlines the need to look at the role of public expenditure and regional development trends in a critical way.