Mafias, Italy and Beyond

Authored by: Ercole Giap Parini

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Italy

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415604178
eBook ISBN: 9781315709970
Adobe ISBN: 9781317487555


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The word mafia is very well known far from Italy’s borders. However, instead of designating precisely a specific organized crime phenomenon, it appears to be a kind of cultural sign of Italy, a typical symbol of the country just like pizza, spaghetti and the mandolin. If you type into Google’s search box the words “mafia café,” you receive back more than 18,000 links, testifying to an image of the mafia in which the “criminal” evaporates into the “folkloristic” and which may be useful for commercial reasons. And the impressive number of T-shirts with the face of Marlon Brando playing the title role in The Godfather is another sign of this mis-representation.

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