Italian Mafias Today
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Italian Mafias Today

Territory, Business and Politics

Edited by Felia Allum, Isabella Clough Marinaro and Rocco Sciarrone

Despite a rapidly changing economic and legal landscape, Italian mafias remain prominent actors in the global criminal underworld. This book provides an extensive and up-to-date view of how they adapt to shifting economic opportunities and intensifying legal and civic backlash.
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Chapter 5: The Sacra Corona Unita: The birth and decline of the fourth mafia?

Monica Massari


This chapter provides an overview of the history, characteristics, strategies and most recent evolution of the Sacra Corona Unita, a relatively new mafia-type organisation, born between the late 1970s and early 1980s in a southern Italian region – Apulia – where no traditional forms of mafia-type organisations had ever been recorded before. The organisation reached its peak of success in the 1990s thanks in part to its close relationships with members of both the ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra. Since the early 2000s, law enforcement operations have heavily impacted the organisation, whose internal weaknesses have thereby been laid bare. While it is often asserted that this group is now defunct, the chapter points to a more complex interpretation and to the emergence of a ‘second generation’.

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