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From Villamaura to Palermo: two songs of the Mafia

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As Jane and Peter Schneider's work has shifted over the past three decades, from the Mafia in a Sicilian village to the antimafia movement in Palermo, their epistemology has changed too, from a world systems approach influenced by Wallerstein, to a more political process-centered approach that shows their ethnographic skills to best advantage. Whereas their first book, Culture and Political Economy in Western Sicily , placed the Island in its Mediterranean historical/economic framework, the second, Reversible Destiny , shows how culture and politics intertwine in the slow, halting and reversible struggle to displace the Mafia from Sicilians' lives and mentalities. These ‘two songs' of the Mafia reflect changes in both the Schneiders' opera and in the growth of middle-range theory in today's social scientific treatments of Italy.
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Keywords: Mafia; Sicily; antimafia; political process theory; world systems theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cornell University

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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