Letizia Paoli

Mafia: modello universale di crimine organizzato?

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The paper argues that the question posed in the title can be answered positively only if - as occurs routinely in Italy - organised crime is identified with large-scale, stable and structured criminal organisations. Such a concept, however, is no longer widespread in the North American and European scientific debate nor is it reflected in the official definitions of organised crime adopted by most countries and at the international level. If the latter conception is adopted and organised crime is thus understood as the provision of illegal goods and services, Southern Italian mafia consortia cannot be considered a universally valid ideal-type of organised crime. In fact, their units are not the product of illegal market dynamics, nor do the development of illegal entrepreneurial activities and profit maximisation represent the main goal of their action even today.

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