Keywords: Danilo Dolci – Social Work – Community Work.
This article examines the history of Associazione per l’iniziativa sociale (Ais) during 1957- 1961. Its creation was driven by the influence of a national and international public opinion movement, which developed to support Danilo Dolci’s work in Sicily. Some documents have been selected to show three different steps that witness the crisis of the Ais. Studying these sources can add new elements to the historiographical debate which paid not enough attention to the history of associations, in particular the network of intellectuals, technicians and volunteers involved in the development of the South. The study of Ais and Dolci, it seems to me, can make interesting contributions to the history of community development in Italy and highlight the ethical and political dimension of the protagonists of these experiences, bringing out divergences, mistrust and aporias between the different approaches to social work.