The Mafia

Carina Gunnarson

in Cultural Warfare and Trust

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780719076725
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701430 | DOI:
The Mafia

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This chapter discusses different aspects of the Mafia in Italy, first by describing the organisation in itself, as an institution parallel to and independent of the state. The focus is on the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, although some comparisons are made with other Italian Mafia groupings. The chapter argues that the relation between the Mafia and the state should be understood as an exchange relation, although some sectors are more penetrated by Mafia interests than others. The chapter then looks at the Mafia's territorial control and the weakness of the state and shows that the Mafia's power is closely related to its control over a specific territory, including control over the citizens who are living in that area. It also considers the Mafia's mental control and argues that the Mafia has actively used some Sicilian values as a means to render its activities more legitimate. The sway of the Mafia is not only a consequence of distrust: it is also a promoter of distrust. The chapter concludes by discussing the Mafia and its role in politics.

Keywords: Mafia; Italy; Sicilian Cosa Nostra; state; territorial control; mental control; distrust; politics; power; exchange relation

Chapter.  7873 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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