ISSN: 2038-0925

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Mafias del Mundo: Ndrangheta by Eneas De Troya on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

“Mafias del Mundo: Ndrangheta” by Eneas De Troya on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Mafia and historiography
Cultural preliminary remarks and new outlooks

During these last decades, the debate about mafia phenomenon is under discussion, and it has had a huge vitality. Since the second half of nineteenth century, historians as Salvatore Lupo, Rosario Mangiameli and Paolo Pezzino have played a major role and introduced significant innovations in historical field. Indeed, thanks to the deconstruction of the cultural paradigm, they inserted mafia among modernity’s pathologies, in order to promote innovative interpretations and points of view about the phenomenon. Moreover, apart from this typology of researches, new historiographical tendencies were developed. An example could be the World History which encouraged historians such as Giuseppe Carlo Marino who browsed his analysis in a transnational perspective (Globamafia, 2011), Salvatore Lupo, who pinpointed the strong link between specific Cosa Nostra’s features and the movement of ideas and people from Europe to America, (Quando la Mafia trovò l’America, 2008) and like Umberto Santino, who fostered a sociological approach to mafia studies (Dalla mafia alle mafie: scienze sociali e crimine organizzato, 2006). In addition, the importance of Gender Studies should not be underestimated: this point of view has led several historians, both men and women, to investigate women’s role in mafia organizations and narrations. Therefore, all these novelties led to a change in panorama of the researches as well as in interpretative lines of the phenomenon.

What was the role of international organisms and institutional agencies in mafia criminality history? And what is, nowadays, the significance of the amount of stored documentation for the construction of a mafia phenomenology?

In the light of the studies and researches carried on during the last thirty years, how did mafias, politics and institutional environment scheme relationships influenced each other in the different national backgrounds?

How did media’s world face mafia phenomenon and its evolution during the years? And by which criteria did culture, broadly speaking, set and evaluate mafia dynamics looking at its sociological and anthropological features in local, national and supranational contexts?

What is Italy’s current position on the most important illegal trade routes of mafia organizations? What is the role played by the globalization in the diffusion of crime linked to the increase of migrant flows and the environmental and public resources exploitation?

Could the death of sicilian “Cosa Nostra” be a valuable hypothesis to be taken under consideration at the moment or maybe we should talk about its transformation? And in this last case, do analogies with the evolution of other criminal groups exist? Could be now conceivable an “international mafia power” having the role of merging all criminal groups grown beyond Cosa Nostra?

These mentioned are just some of the possible questions which, starting by stabilized preconditions in dedicated debates and literacy, may introduce crucial issues for the understanding of contemporary reality, not only in Italy but also all over the world. In this sense, lots of new detailed studies are still feasible and encouraged. Moreover, it is evident that the historical research needs a deeper analysis concerning this phenomenon which is so strongly connected with politics, economy, society and anthropology.

Basing on what was said and moving by the latest mentioned sector study’s acquisitions, Diacronie Studi di Storia contemporanea invites authors to propose contributions about this topic. Methodological essays are as acceptable as papers based on different approaches, such as study case or compared models analysis, and a global point of view, not restricted to Italy but opened to other national contexts between the last 19th and the first 21st century. In particular, interesting investigation themes could be:

  • international organizations’ role and action to contrast mafias;
  • role and documentation of parliamentarian committees against mafia;
  • relationship between mafia, political class and institutional context;
  • culture and media universe’s interest, analysis and representation of mafia phenomenon;
  • mafia organizations’ international links, transnational trades and “global economies”;
  • gender perspectives: femininity, woman’s influence and role in mafia organizations;
  • migrations’ exploitation, eco-mafias and felonies against patrimony.



  • BENIGNO, Francesco, La mala setta: Alle origini di mafia e camorra, 1859-1878, Torino, Einaudi, 2015.
  • DALLA CHIESA, Nando, Il potere mafioso. Economia e ideologia, Milano, Mazzotta, 1976.
  • ID., La convergenza: mafia e politica nella Seconda Repubblica, Milano, Melampo, 2010.
  • DALLA CHIESA, Nando, Mafia e antimafia: un’indignazione costruttiva, in PEPINO, Livio, REVELLI, Marco (a cura di), Grammatica dell’indignazione, Torino, Edizioni Gruppo Abele, 2013.
  • DINO, Alessandra (a cura di), La lotta alla mafia: le politiche della sicurezza, in DINO, Alessandra, Poteri criminali e crisi della democrazia, Milano-Udine, Mimesis, 2011.
  • GRIBAUDI, Gabriella (a cura di), Traffici criminali: Camorra, mafie e reti internazionali dell’illegalità, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2009.
  • LUPO, Salvatore, Storia della mafia. Dalle origini ai nostri giorni, Roma, Donzelli, 1993.
  • ID., Che cos’è la mafia. Sciascia e Andreotti, l’antimafia e la politica, Roma, Donzelli, 2007.
  • ID., Quando la mafia trovò l’America. Storia di un intreccio intercontinentale, 1888-2008, Torino, Einaudi, 2008.
  • MANGIAMELI, Rosario, La mafia tra stereotipo e storia, Roma, Editore Sciascia, 2000.
  • MARESO, Manuela, PEPINO, Livio, Antimafia: storia, in MARESO, Manuela, PEPINO (a cura di), Dizionario enciclopedico di mafie e antimafia, Torino, Edizioni Gruppo Abele, 2013.
  • MARINO, Giuseppe Carlo, Antimafia come rivoluzione culturale, Palermo, Rinascita siciliana, 1993.
  • ID., L’opposizione mafiosa, Palermo, S. F. Flaccovio, 1996.
  • ID., Storia della Mafia, Roma, Newton & Compton, 1998.
  • ID., Globalmafia. Manifesto per un’internazionale antimafia, Milano, Bompiani, 2011.
  • PEZZINO, Paolo, «La mafia siciliana come industria della violenza. Caratteri storici ed elementi di continuità», in Dei delitti e delle pene, 2/1993, pp. 67–79.
  • ID., Mafia. Industria della violenza. Scritti e documenti inediti sulla mafia dalle origini ai giorni nostri, Scandicci, La Nuova Italia, 1995.
  • ID., La mafia, in ISNEGHI, Mario (a cura di), I luoghi della memoria. Strutture ed eventi dell’Italia unita, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1997, pp. 111-134.
  • ID., Le mafie, Firenze, Giunti, 1999.
  • SANTINO, Umberto, L’impresa mafiosa: dall’Italia agli Stati Uniti, Milano, F. Angeli, 1990.
  • ID., La borghesia mafiosa: materiali di un percorso d’analisi, Palermo, Centro siciliano di documentazione Giuseppe Impastato, 1994.
  • ID., La cosa e il nome: materiali per lo studio dei fenomeni premafiosi, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2000.
  • ID., «Scienze sociali, mafia e crimine organizzato, tra stereotipi e paradigmi», in Studi sulla questione criminale: nuova serie di Dei delitti e delle pene, 1/2006, pp. 99-114.
  • ID., Dalla mafia alle mafie: scienze sociali e crimine organizzato, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2006.
  • TESCAROLI, Luca, Le faide mafiose nei misteri della Sicilia, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2003.

How to send an article

Interested authors may send their abstracts and articles in Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Greek (contribution in Portuguese, German and Greek will be translated into Italian by editorial board). The article should be between 35.000 and 50.000 characters (spaces included), it must respect the editorial norms (accessible at the following link: and it must be sent to the address redazione.diacronie[at]
Let us inform about your intention to participate with any contribution by contacting the editorial board and sending the abstract by 20 april 2019. Authors will be notified whether their proposal has been accepted or refused by 30 april 2019. The complete article must be submitted by 30 June 2019; publication of this issue is scheduled for december 2019.

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