In this paper the author analyses the role of sustainable tourism within the recent restructuring of rural economic systems. Some critical situations embedded in rural spaces are taken into account, especially in terms of social agency. In particular, some of the reasons why new strategies of regional economies are hard to be triggered are assessed. A paradigm based upon networking actions and capitalization of local resources (both material and immaterial ones) may become a useful means to overcome some of the contradictions that old developmental models have disclosed, such as the option endogenous versus exogenous, the contrast between quality of life and materialistic growth, the tradition/innovation antithesis, the continuity/change contraposition. The peculiarity of the local micro entrepreneurship, based on a socio-cultural identity oriented management, represents one of the key-points of the reasoning.
Keywords: Networking, rural space, local identity