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 9: Pizzini: Sicilian mafia culture between continuity and change

Rossella Merlino

Abstract

This chapter examines mafia behaviour in situations of crisis, transition and change by looking at forms of internal communication. It focuses in particular on Cosa Nostra’s written system of communication (pizzini) implemented under the leadership of Bernardo Provenzano. Drawing on cultural pragmatics theory of social performance, it argues that the micro-social interactions produced in those communications had a transformative effect on the actors involved, thereby not only reflecting but also influencing the organisation’s identity and structure.The case study thus provides a fascinating analysis of how tradition and innovation are concretely linked and enacted.

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