STUDY ABROAD Independent study: History of the Italian Mafia
Independent study (15 contact hours, 1 contact hour:
45’, of lesson and 30 completely independently by the student)
Rationale and Description
The course looks at the history of the Italian Mafia from the Unification of Italy up to the present day, as well as examining the Italian government’s fight against organized crime. Some of the key issues to be discussed are: the origins of the mafia; mafia during fascism; the mafia’s relationships with the American mafia; mafia and the drug trade, the two mafia wars; the Maxi-Trial (Falcone and Borsellino); social relationships within the mafia; mafia and religion; and the role of the women within the mafia.
Philosophy and Approach
A political-historical and sociological-anthropological approach will be used to analyze the relationships between mafia and politics, both at national and the local level, the social relationships within the organization (“the code of silence” or omertà), the structures of power, and the businesses of criminal organizations. The course will be a combination of lecture/discussion, out-of-class exercises, case analyses, presentations and personal reflections.
By the end of this course the student should be able to understand the fundamental aspects of the Italian mafia, including:
· The relationship between mafia and Italian politics
· The social relationships within the organization and between the Mafiosi and the external world
· The few similarities and the many differences between the Italian and the American mafia
· Contemporary developments such as the relationships of the mafia with international criminal organizations
· The mafia as a specific aspect of the Sicilian and Italian culture.
List of possible program contents
The origins of the mafia; mafia from national unity to the First World War; mafia during fascism; mafia’s post-WWI “rebirth”; relationships with the American mafia; mafia in the 60’s and 70’s: the drug trade, the political connections, and the two mafia wars; the 80s and 90s: the mafia under attack and the Maxi-Trial, Falcone and Borsellino; social relationships within the mafia; omertà; communication; mafia and religion; role of the women within the mafia; contemporary developments and the trend towards global crime.