Multiplicity of Goals and Functions

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

Multiplicity of Goals and Functions

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In the reflections of several scholars, mafiosi of the past have been identified tout court with the few figures who showed a clearly modern acquisitive attitude in the traditional economic and social system of western Sicily and southern Calabria, and have been presented as the true expression of the local bourgeoisie. In their turn, contemporary mafia groups have been assimilated into the model of legal business firms. Far from being economic enterprises aiming at the maximization of profits, however, mafia associations are functionally diffused entities, which claim to exercise a political dominion over their areas of settlement. More than wealth, their members have always aimed to gain power over their communities, occupying the central points of the local social, economic, and political systems. Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta families have managed to mix politics and economics, as exemplified by the activities undertaken by them in the building sector, and specifically in the market of construction for the state.

Keywords: Sicily; Calabria; mafia; economic enterprises; politics; Cosa Nostra; 'Ndrangheta; wealth; power; profits

Chapter.  16904 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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