Mafia Associations and Ruling Bodies

Letizia Paoli

in Mafia Brotherhoods

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780195157246
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943982 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

Mafia Associations and Ruling Bodies

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Since the mid-nineteenth century, numerous sources have mentioned, and sometimes described in great detail, stable mafia associations in both Sicily and Calabria. Today, members and branches of both Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta can be found in numerous northern Italian centers as well as in all those foreign countries that have attracted consistent migration flows from southern Italy. The cosche composing Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta may be considered fully developed organizations, clearly distinguished from the blood families of their members, because they have ruling bodies to enforce their normative order. For many years, the power apparatuses of the single mafia families were the sole ruling bodies within the two organizations. Only in the late 1950s, in fact, did Cosa Nostra families in the Palermo province create a superordinate body of coordination: the so-called provincial commission. Despite the experiments carried out in the last four decades of the twentieth century, the ruling bodies of single families remain the real centers of mafia power, and segmentation is the prevalent form of differentiation.

Keywords: Sicily; Calabria; Cosa Nostra; 'Ndrangheta; Italy; mafia associations; ruling bodies; mafia families; segmentation; coordination

Chapter.  18572 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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