The moment of the Italian Community Studies, between the 50s and the 60s, has left a deep legacy. The article explores a specific dimension of this legacy: the way of thinking about the relationship between local studies and politics/policy. Based on six sections, it firstly explores the main meanings of politics and collective action developed in classic community studies. Then, it deepens the contribution of Danilo Dolci to the reflection on the relationship between community ties, politics and planning. The third section is about its main legacies in the sociology of the 80s. The following section investigates the main reasons that have led to a gap between urban studies and policy in Italy. The conclusion draws some lessons from the internal dialectics in Community Studies between analysis and proposals, between measurement and involvement, and it demonstrate the timeliness of Community Studies, even compared to the most recent debates on the functions of sociology.
Keywords: Community studies, urban sociology, Italy, sociological theory, politics, collective action.