The price of bread. About the first mafias organizations in Palermo after 1860

Author/s Dario Lanfranca
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2021/297 Language Italian
Pages 25 P. 11-35 File size 197 KB
DOI 10.3280/IC2021-297001
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In the first two decades after the Italian Unification, the first mafia organisations emerged in Sicily. They all shared a mutual aid profile. Some organizations hid their criminal nature behind the appearance of artisans’ associations (before 1820 mutual aid was an important part of these associations’ identity). The phenomenon was most visible in Palermo and its hinterland; this was not a coincidence but the achievement of a long historical process started at the beginning of the 19th century: from 1820 to 1860 many people involved in artisans’ associations were at the forefront of the insurrections against the Bourbons, side by side with other elements who played a big role in the birth of the mafia. After 1860 their traditions - for instance, their social and economic control of the neighbourhood where their activities developed - had a remarkable impact on the Palermitan mutualismo. This explains why mutual aid in Palermo developed peculiar characteristics compared to the rest of Italy. Its distortions can be viewed in particular in the field of wheat processing.

Keywords: Mutual aid, Mafia, Monopoly

Dario Lanfranca, Mutuo soccorso e protomafia a Palermo dopo l’Unità in "ITALIA CONTEMPORANEA" 297/2021, pp 11-35, DOI: 10.3280/IC2021-297001