Abstract. The following article aims to explore the policy-making processes related to the improvement of the access to basic services in some Italian Inner Areas. In particular, the authors present an analysis of the contents of plan documents within the Italian National Strategy for Inner Areas framework, moving from a double perspective - anthropological and sociostatistic. The main objective is to investigate how the category of "distance", used to preliminarily identify these areas, was to some extent assumed as a proxy of the rural-peripheral issue in the policy-making process, as well as in the relational character of the centre-periphery relationship, and in the choice of relevant policy options.
Keywords: Peripheral areas; Distance; Rurality; Remoteness; Local Development; Content analysis.