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Political Science History & Theory

Village Politics and the Mafia in Sicily

Second Edition

by (author) Filippo Sabetti

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2002
History & Theory, Local
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2002
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2002
    List Price

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He suggests that the mafia emerged only in some parts of Sicily and was never a single overarching criminal organization. It arose, in fact, from a self-help tradition that eventually became corrupted and ultimately a burden on most villagers - land workers and proprietors alike. The local antimafia forces also became a drain on village life and by the middle of the 1950s both the mafia and the antimafia, far from destroying one another, had vanquished themselves. The first study to extend rational choice institutionalism to Italian history and politics, Village Politics and the Mafia in Sicily offers an in-depth analysis of the impact of the abolition of feudalism in 1812, the unification of Italy in 1860, and subsequent regime changes on village politics in Sicily. Sabetti details the emergence, evolution, and collapse of a local mafia and antimafia in a historical, "before-after," perspective. Refocusing the study of village politics and the mafia, he also suggests what can happen when those acting for the state regard ordinary people as passive voices in the game of life.

About the author

Filippo Sabetti is a professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University.

Filippo Sabetti's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Reviews of the first edition: "Sabetti's revolutionary analysis shakes up the conventional wisdom, calls into question acquired knowledge thought to be unassailably true forever, and forces us all to rethink the history of Sicily and the mafia." Saverio Di Bella, University of Messina Center for the Study of Mafia Criminality "An important study. Sabetti successfully challenges a number of well-entrenched assumptions about Sicilian and southern Italian politics." International Journal of Comparative Sociology "An informative and detailed analysis of a single, small village in central Sicily ... The primary data used by Sabetti are quite varied and more complete than any other book on the subject. He has made excellent use of the literature. But it is the idea, the imagination of the work that is even more impressive for it actually explains the currents of authority." International Migration Review

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