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Mafia Politics

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2022-03-01
  • Publisher: Polity

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This ground-breaking book offers a deep and original analysis of the Mafia – in particular Cosa Nostra – as a distinct form of politics. Marco Santoro breaks with criminal and economic approaches which see the Mafia as an industry of private protection and rationally calculating wealth accumulation. Instead he argues that it represents an alternative way of organizing political relations, the exercise of power, and the struggle for prestige. Nor is this a distortion or failure of the modern Western state, based on the rule of law: the Mafia is best understood as an older, alternative tradition of politics, a distinctly Southern institutional arrangement of social life focused on personal ties and obligations. Today, the Mafia still thrives among subaltern classes and in regions that the modern state has not yet incorporated, as a conservative counter-politics of prestige. Pivotal to understanding this world is a cultural sociology of the Mafia, offering the tools and concepts necessary to penetrate the symbolism and structures of Mafia life.

Blending diverse theoretical strands with folk sources and the voices of Mafiosi themselves, Santoro develops a political theory of the Mafia, shedding new light on this captivating, global, and remarkably resilient phenomenon.

Author Biography

Marco Santoro is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bologna.

Table of Contents

1. Mafia, Politics, and Social Theory: An Introduction

2. The ‘Mafia’ in ‘Mafia Studies’: (Re)constructing a Sociological Object

3. What is Right with the Economic Theory of the Mafia?

4. The Public Life of Mafiosi

5. The Mafioso’s Gift or, Making Sense of an “Offer You Cannot Refuse”

6. Blood, Bund, and (Personal) Bonds: The Mafia as an Institutional Type

7. Mafia as an Elementary Form of Politics

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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