The concept of community has emerged once again as a buzz word in a variety of academic fields. In particular, "communitarianism" and "social capital" emphasise the role of trust, partnerships and co-operation as preconditions for the attainment of sustainable economic and social development. By reviewing the concept of community from Tönnies to recent literature, the paper explores some connections between the return of such theme in both recent social theory and strategies of development, and the emergence of new forms of political regulation. It argues that, to the extend that "local communities" are now deemed to be responsible for their own welfare, the appeals to "community" is becoming a means of engineering social relations in the post-Fordism. Support for these general points is provided by the illustration of a case study in South Italy.