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Crime and the Southern Question: Mafiosi and Camorristi

  • John A. Davis
Chapter

Abstract

Law and order were to become central issues in the rapidly widening public debate that took place during the 1870s and 1880s on Italy’s social and political development since Unification, but it had always been particularly closely associated with what came to be known as the ‘Southern Problem’. Indeed, the tendency to reduce events in the South to the vocabulary of crime and public order had been evident from the time of Unification, when not only the peasant ‘brigands’ but indeed all suspected opponents of the new state in the South were denigrated as criminals. Republicans and democrats were freely described as camorristi and agents of organised crime, while rival political factions within the South were no less ready to use the same language against their own opponents. Liborio Romano was one of the best known, but by no means the only victim of this form of indictment by criminal association.1

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Although published later A. Niceforo L’Italia Barabara Contemporanea (Palermo, 1898) offers eloquent examples.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    G. Mortillaro Nuovo Dizionario Siciliano-Italiano quoted in G. Fiume Bande Armate (1984) p. 39.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See P. Alatri Lotte Politiche in Sicilia Sotto il Governo della Destra 1866–74 (Turin, 1954);Google Scholar
  4. G. C. Marino L’Opposizione Mafiosa 1870–1882 (1964);Google Scholar
  5. G. Procacci Le Elezioni del 1874 e l’Opposizione Meridionale (Milan, 1956);Google Scholar
  6. D. Mack Smith Modern Sicily (1968) Part 13.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    The two studies were republished as L. Franchetti and S. Sonnino La Sicilia nel 1876 ed. E. Cavalieri (Florence, 2 vols, 1925).Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    See esp. G. Fiume Bande Armate (1984) and Ch. 3 above.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Tommasi Crudeli, quoted in P. Villari Scritti sulla Questione Sociale (Florence, 1902) p. 440.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    The most recent studies are: A. Blok The Mafia of a Sicilian Village 1860–1960 (Oxford, 1974);Google Scholar
  11. H. Hess Mafia (London, 1973);Google Scholar
  12. J. and P. Schneider Culture and Political Economy in Western Sicily (New York, 1976).Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    The most perceptive modern studies of the Southern Italian latifundist economy are those of M. Rossi Doria (e.g. ‘Struttura e Problemi dell’Agricoltura Meridionale’ in M. Rossi Doria Riforma Agraria e Azione Meridionalista (Bologna, 1948)). Amongst the most detailed contemporary descriptions see: S. Sonnino ‘I Contadini in Sicilia’ in Franchetti and Sonnino Vol. 2. In English see: A. Blok (1974) pp. 64–79; J. and P. Schneider (1976) pp. 58–71; D. Mack Smith ‘The Latifundia in Modern Sicilian History’ in Proceedings of the British Academy (1965) pp. 87–93.Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Giunta per l’Inchiesta Agraria (Rome, 1882) Vol. IX, p. xxvii; on Calabria compare the general description in P. Arlacchi Mafia, Peasants and Great Estates (Cambridge, 1983) pp. 123ff with the detailed and critical analysis inGoogle Scholar
  15. M. Petrusewicz ‘Les Sources de l’Accumulation Primitive dans l’Agriculture Calabraise au XIXè siècle’ ER (1979) pp. 17–33.Google Scholar
  16. On Spain see e.g. G. Brenan The Spanish Labyrinth (1971 edn) Ch. 6 andGoogle Scholar
  17. A. Marvaud La Question Sociale en Espagne (Paris, 1910).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    The range of mafia activities are described most fully in the essays by Franchetti and Sonnino, but see also G. Alongi La Maffia nei Suoi Fatti e Nelle Sue Manifestazioni: Studi sulle Classi Pericolose della Sicilia (Turin, 1886) esp. pp. 111–22.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    E.g. G. Alongi (1886) pp. 135–48; S. F. Romano Storia della Mafia (Milan, 1963) pp. 115–84;Google Scholar
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  21. 20.
    See esp. P. Villari ‘Sicilia e il Socialismo’ (1902) in Scritti sulla Questione Meridionale (Florence, 1902) p. 67.Google Scholar
  22. 26.
    See esp. G. Giarrizzo ‘La Sicilia nella Crisi Agraria’ in I Fasci Siciliani (Bari, 1975) Vol. 1, pp. 7–63.Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    See esp. G. Manacorda Crisi Economica e Lotte Politiche in Italia 1892–1896 (Turin, 1968);Google Scholar
  24. G. Manacorda ‘I Fasci e la Classe Dirigente Liberale’ in I Fasci Siciliani (1975) Vol. 1, pp. 67–101;Google Scholar
  25. F. Renda I Fasci Siciliani 1892–4 (Turin, 1977) pp. 232–43.Google Scholar
  26. The description of the Fasci in E. J. Hobsbawm Primitive Rebels (1956) is largely superseded by these more recent Italian studies.Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    See esp. G. Manacorda ‘Crispi e la Legge Agraria per la Sicilia’ in ASSO 1972, pp. 9–95; F. Renda (1977) pp. 232–43;Google Scholar
  28. G. Barone ‘Ristrutturazione e Crisi del Blocco Agrario’ in G. Barone (ed.) Potere e Società in Sicilia nella Crisi dello Stato Liberale (Catania, 1977) pp. 14–22.Google Scholar
  29. 33.
    Jessie White Mario La Miseria di Napoli (Firenze, 1877) p. 48.Google Scholar
  30. 34.
    See P. Macry ‘Borghesia, Città e Stato: Appunti e Impressioni su Napoli 1860–80’ QS Aug. 1984 pp. 340–72.Google Scholar
  31. 35.
    M. Marmo Il Proletariato Industriale a Napoli nell’Età Liberale 1880–1914 (Naples, 1978) pp. 96–104.Google Scholar
  32. 36.
    G. Salvemini ‘Un Comune dell’Italia Meridionale: Molfetta’ in Opere IV (1963) p. 21.Google Scholar
  33. 37.
    See F. Coletti ‘Classi Sociali e Delinquenza in Italia 1891–1900: La Delinquenza in Sardegna’ Giornale degli Economisti (1911), pp. 611–28.Google Scholar
  34. 38.
    G. Sotgiu Lotte Sociali e Politiche nella Sardegna Contemporanea (Cagliari, 1974) p. 87.Google Scholar
  35. 42.
    Ibid., p. 143; see also S. Wilson ‘Conflict and its Causes in Corsica 1800–35’ SH Jan. 1981, pp. 33–69.Google Scholar

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© John A. Davis 1988

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  • John A. Davis

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