Sociological and historical approach examining the social, political, and historical conditions for and consequences of the rise of the Italian Mafia. Analyzes the strategic relevance of the absence of a political monopoly over the use of state power and its impact on the Sicilian social fabric. A major focus is the identification of the root causes of the Mafia and its political connections. Topics include: the difficult relationship between Sicily and the Italian state; the strategy adopted by the Fascist regime to cope with the Mafia; the revival of the Mafia in post-war Italy; the “social antimafia”; the Pizza connection and the heroin distribution network; the challenges of anti-Mafia activists; the work of the judiciary; the eco-mafias; the Mafia business today. Students will be able to understand how the power vacuum created in any failed state can give rise to powerful criminal organizations, how these organizations consolidate and use power to maintain their hegemony, and how, in such conditions, political governance becomes increasingly problematic.
Meets with SOC 418.
Semesters: Fall, Spring