Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Social Networks of the Italian Mafia the Strong and Weak Parts

Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Social Networks of the Italian Mafia the Strong and Weak Parts

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The mafia phenomenon in Italy has been discussed widely from sociological, economical, psychological, etymological and political points of view whereas the social network system of the mafia from the approach of closed networks has not taken its place in the literature. Therefore, this paper aims to focus on the social network system of the different Mafia associations so as to fill the gap in the mafia studies. I need to mention the name of the prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone, who was murdered in 1992 by Sicilian Mafia (Cosa Nostra) as the source of inspiration of this paper through his words about the Mafia: (1) "We have to learn to think about the methods of Cosa Nostra calmly and with an open mind." (2) Hopefully, this paper shows a distinctive analysis on how different Mafia groups have built their methods through up-to-date networks, reaching a certain level of success. The main aim of this paper is not to show how to combat the Mafia by using its networks but to examine how they built their networks and illustrating the strong and weak parts of these networks in order to assist the fight against the Mafia.

In the first section, the paper emphasizes the theoretical and methodological reasoning of the paper. The paper highlights the social networks application to organized crimes, and finally, it explains the differential organizations theory of Matsueda (3), before taking a further step and commencing the network analysis of organized crime in Italy.

In the second part, the notion is regarded firstly with the members of the Italian Mafia associations. This is necessary to comprehend what kind of formation they have, how they gain new members and build a system of recruitment, the importance of leadership, and their communicative and descriptive type of relationship. Moreover, pentito (Mafioso who collaborates with the judicial authorities) is explained as a concept of the weak part of these networks. The open and closed network system of Matsueda (4) is used to define their network system after gaining a new member and in altering the type of relationship among the members.

In the third section, the main topic will be Italian Mafia groups' infiltration into the local people, how they have dominated the people in the local regions, and subordinated them on behalf of their own targets. To make the argument clear, the historical link of the Mafia groups in rural and urban regions based on the economic, sociological, and cultural facts of these regions are presented.

In the fourth section, Mafia groups' network with the politicians is the main concern of this part. In this section, the corrupted politicians and different Mafia groups' relationships are broadly described. In the next step, my argument suggests that there has never been consistent and cooperative commitment among politicians from the ruling and opposition parties in the fight against the Mafia. Furthermore, I assert that it is easy to break the relationship between politicians and Mafia groups. By using Matsueda's two strong closed networks and a weak tie figure (5), I define this relationship as weak tie of the two closed strong bonds: the Mafia groups and the politicians.

In the fifth and the last part, the executive power of the state is analyzed in the consideration of its (dys)functionality and (in)effectiveness in the judicial and administrative divisions of the state. This is the last section as it signals that the Mafia's success does not simply belong to the efforts of its members building their networks but to the promotional and supportive influence of the half-functional administrative and justice system of the Italian state.

2. Matsueda'a Theory of Social Networks in the Evaluation of Mafia Groups in Italy

Social networking theory has been prominent in many fields: social psychology, communications, political science, and so on. Apart from these fields, it has gained essential importance for the study of organized crime. …

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