Mafia

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Mafia

(mä`fēä), name given to a number of organized groups of Sicilian brigands in the 19th and 20th cent. Unlike the CamorraCamorra
, Italian secret criminal association in Naples. Of controversial origin, it first came to light in 1830. Its activities spread by intimidation, blackmail, and bribery until Naples was controlled by it.
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 in Naples, the Mafia had no hierarchic organization; each group operated on its own. The Mafia originated in feudal times, when lords hired brigands to guard their estates in exchange for protection from the royal authority. The underlying assumption of the Mafia was that legal authorities were useless and that justice must be obtained directly, as in the vendettavendetta
[Ital.,=vengeance], feud between members of two kinship groups to avenge a wrong done to a relative. Although the term originated in Corsica, the custom has also been practiced in other parts of Italy, in other European countries, and among the Arabs.
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. Italian attempts to curtail the Mafia have suffered from political corruption and the assassination of judges.

Through emigration the organization spread to the United States (where it was sometimes called the Black Hand). In the United States, it became involved in many illegal operations—trade in narcotics, gambling, prostitution, labor union racketeering—and certain legal enterprises, such as trucking and construction. In Nov., 1957, more than 60 of its alleged leaders were surprised at a secret meeting at Apalachin, N.Y. About one third of them were convicted of obstructing justice, but the convictions were reversed on appeal. In recent years, the Mafia has been linked with money-laundering and police corruption and has also been hampered by defections. It slowed its activities in extortion and racketeering in the last decades of the 20th cent., but also has expanded into such white-collar criminal enterprises as fraud in health insurance and sales of prepaid telephone cards and illegal stock market deals and into legitimate businesses such as hotel chains and restaurants.

See also organized crimeorganized crime,
criminal activities organized and coordinated on a national scale, often with international connections. The American tradition of daring desperadoes like Jesse James and John Dillinger, has been superseded by the corporate criminal organization.
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.

Bibliography

See M. Pantaleone, The Mafia and Politics (tr. 1966); D. Cressey, Theft of the Nation (1969); P. Maas, The Valachi Papers (1969); J. Albini, The American Mafia (1971); N. Gage, Mafia U.S.A. (1972); F. Ianni, A Family Business (1972); J. Fentress, Rebels and Mafiosi: Death in a Sicilian Landscape (2000); T. Reppetto, The American Mafia (2003); J. Dickie, Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia (2004); S. Raab, Five Families (2005); S. E. Scorza, comp., Mafia: The Government's Secret File on Organized Crime (2007); P. Reski, The Honored Society: A Portrait of Italy's Most Powerful Mafia (2013); J. Dickie, Blood Brotherhoods: A History ff Italy's Three Mafias (2014).

Mafia

 

a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa. Part of Tanzania. Area, 442 sq km. Composed of coral limestones. The climate is hot and equatorial, with monsoons; there is shrub vegetation. Coconut palms, clove trees, sesame, and rice are cultivated. Copra is exported. The main town is Kilindoni.


Mafia

 

(Maffia), a system of social relations unique to the island of Sicily. In particular, the system manifests itself in the steadfast existence and broad diffusion on the island, dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, of a secret organization that uses methods of extra-economic compulsion, violence, terror, and murder. “Mafia” is also the name for this organization. As a social phenomenon the Mafia arose during the disintegration of the feudal order, when productive and social relations were extremely backward and sociopolitical forms in Sicilian society were underdeveloped; it took root in the soil of distorted conceptions of honor, pride, and family and clan ties and grew by the law of “might makes right,” which had existed since feudal times.

In the first half of the 19th century the Mafia organization evidently represented a kind of secret association of the middle rural strata. Its terroristic methods, including blackmail, violence, and murder, were employed in the protection of lands and orchards and in marketing. Gradually the archaic rural Mafia became modernized, adapting itself to new conditions. It possesses specific organizational and even ritualistic forms and has a more or less rigid hierarchical structure; the so-called law of omertd, according to which no one dares betray members or crimes of the Mafia to the police on pain of death, has made the organization almost invulnerable.

In the 20th century the Mafia organization has shifted its activity to towns, penetrating the construction industry, the illegal drug market, and the entertainment industry (especially gambling casinos) and taking root in political life. At election time the Mafia mobilizes votes for a given candidate who, when elected, renders it services in return. The Mafia has close ties with the police, court officials, and certain political circles in Rome.

Under the pressure of democratic forces the Italian government waged an official struggle in the 1950’s and 1960’s against Mafia criminality; a special body, the “Anti-Mafia,” was created for that purpose, and a number of important leaders of the organization were arrested. The Mafia has not, however, ceased functioning.

The Sicilian Mafia is linked closely with other crime organizations in the capitalist countries, particularly gangster organizations in the USA. Mafia organizational forms were introduced into the USA by Italian immigrants from Sicily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The earliest Mafia organization in the USA was known as the Black Hand; it engaged in extortion, blackmail, and robbery. After World War II, the Mafia organization known as the Cosa Nostra, a powerful underworld syndicate, acquired scandalous notoriety.

REFERENCES

Rusakov, N. P. Iz istorii sitsiliiskoi mafii. Moscow, 1969.
Pantaleone, M. Mafia e politico: 1943-1962, 2nd ed. Turin, 1962.

IU. P. LISOVSKII

What does it mean when you dream about the mafia?

If we do not otherwise have associations with the mafia, then a dream about a mobster can represent the part of us that would like to violate the law and take what we want. Alternatively, a dream mobster could be the part of us that would like to exact some vigilante justice.

Mafia

sinister crime syndicate promotes violence to achieve goals. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1657]
References in periodicals archive ?
31) Marie Anne Matard, "Presenza mafiosa in Tunisia?
A bunch of black-clad extras from The Godfather huddled - the Scottish Labour mafiosa were out.
Inoltre lo studio rivela che per capire approfonditamente il fenomeno mafioso bisogna studiare come si ottiene il consenso e come nel complesso sociale i gruppi criminali agiscono all'interno di un sistema relazionale, il cosiddetto blocco sociale al cui interno la funzione dominante e svolta dai soggetti illegali piu ricchi e potenti, che lo studio definisce borghesia mafiosa.
Ignorare questo vero e proprio lato oscuro della criminalita mafiosa ha fatto si che si sottovalutassero la capacita relazionale della mafia, la sua capacita di fare rete e la sua agilita nel muoversi abilmente tra sfera legale e sfera illegale dell'economia della societa civile e delle sfere della politica.
La sua gestualita goffa e irruente mima la bestialita e la logica primitiva che lo portano ad obbedire al codice dell'omerta mafiosa.
Skulduggery happens, of course, and Tulsa - aka Lo La Lamar - is spirited off to Havana by an over-sexed Mafiosa for a fate slightly better than hoofing it at the Copacabana (echoes here and elsewhere of Guys and Dolls and there is a hint, or some might say a large shout, of Ravel's Bolero).
Stazione dopo stazione, ricorda, rielabora e rivive episodi della sua vita e della sua iniziazione mafiosa da parte del cammorista Damiano.
Eye-witnesses have reported seeing a drunken Oasis entourage getting gradually more bellicose until an understandably miffed party of visiting mafiosa bigshots could take no more.
Dal tifo negli stadi alla violenza nelle carceri, dallo stupro di gruppo alle tensioni multietniche, dallo sfruttamento minorile alle difficolta del piccolo imprenditore nella nuova economia italiana, dal disadattamento giovanile all'uso e spaccio di stupefacenti, dalla microcriminalita dei balordi alle televendite e alla mitologia spazzatura del piccolo schermo, dall'immigrazione clandestina alle trasformazioni dell'economia mafiosa, non c'e aspetto della complessa realta italiana che non abbia trovato modo di raggiungere, magari solo come spunto narrativo, lo schermo.
Le scelte stilistiche, originali e sempre rigorosamente coerenti con il tema trattato, contribuiscono dal canto loro a trasformare un evento estremamente drammatico ma individuale, in una generalizzata e civile denuncia di quella mentalita mafiosa da cui sono infettati oggi ancora interi segmenti della societa siciliana.
So respect due to Murphy who, toning down his brasher persona, plays generous straight man to a wisecracking pet pooch, neurotic Chameleon, a wise guy racoon and the mafiosa beaver who declares himself just a simple fisherman who's been blessed with many friends.
Allo scrittore non resta che narrare il paesaggio naturale e umano devastato dalla violenza mafiosa, dalla distruzione ecologica, dalla corruzione morale e politica in cui sente di vivere e a cui partecipa.