Esforcers, entrepreneur, and survivors: how the mafia has adapted to change

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Enforcers, Entrepreneurs, and Survivors: How the Mafia Has Adapted to Change Author(s): Raimondo Catanzaro Reviewed work(s): Source: The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Mar., 1985), pp. 34-57 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The London School of Economics and Political Science Stable URL: . Accessed: 27/01/2012 13:21
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This article seeks to explain the reasons for the persistenceand transformation the maha, a problemnot addressed of directlyin the literature. The cultural codes of honour and of instrumental friendshipare analysed. These codes served to train groups and individualsto competitiveness to a particular and relationship with the state. This led to the emergence of maha when, withthe Unificationof Italy, the Sicilianperiphery encountered Italian the national state. The promotionof economicdevelopmentover the last thirty years has had the effect of helping the maSa to spread ratherthan that of eliminatingit. The thesis of the articleis that the continuityof the maha derives from its capacity to adapt continuallyto change. This happens becausethe maha groupsare not relicsofthe past, but wereformed as a result of a specific combinationof ancient and modern, a mixtureof privateviolenceand the legitimateviolenceof the state, of competition for economic resources in the market and the absenceof regulatorystandardsfor economicactivitiesother than violence. In this sense, the mahais a phenomenontypicalof what can be definedas a processof social hybridization.
INTRODUCTIONThe recrudescence the maha in the last few years raisesdisturbing of questions. One no longer thinks of mafia simply as an expressionof Sicilian backwardness; today one wants to ask why the mafia and its tnodesof behaviourhave lasted, what its social rootsare, and how it has been able to adapt to new economicand social contexts. The literatureon maSa has not yet confronted problem.While thisinteresting analyses of traditional maJ2a exist of its codes of behaviour and its recent move towards entrepreneurship the I continuity/transformation the culturalcodes and behaviourwhich of
TheBritishJournalof Sociology Volume XXXVI Number I


and entrepreneurs,survivors Enforcers,


permit the perpetuationof the mata are mentionedonly rarely.The limited goal of this article is tomake a contribution to the the of understanding the ways in which, throughout maha's history,its typicalcodesof behaviourand valueshave alwaysadaptedto changes in socio-economicand politicalconditions. The articleis organizedaroundfourbasicpoints. I will firstanalyse two traditional codes of Sicilian culture, and particularlyof maha friendship. culture:the code of honourand the code of instrumentalbehaviour argumentis that these codes, and theiraccompanying My patterns,are not traditional,in the sense that they are not feudalor vestiges; rather they derive from economicactivities pre-capitalistic which are modern, and networksof politicaland social relationships even if not industrialor capitalistic. The second point is that these cultural codes and modes of and have trainedindividuals...
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