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Sicily: reflections on forty years of change 1

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Substantial changes have transformed Sicily over the forty years that we have known it as anthropological fieldworkers. This essay draws particular attention to the appearance of industrial age technologies and related modernizing trends; to a dramatic decline in fertility with effects on family life and civic culture; and to the emergence of an antimafia social movement demanding effective police and juridical restraint of organized crime. It further considers what in retrospect were blind spots in our research, in particular our earlier understandings of the long-term viability of the Sicilian Left and of the organization and regional coherence of the Mafia. The passage of time raises new questions and produces new frameworks for analysis. Based on our recent research in Palermo, we attempt to assess the prospects for the Mafia and antimafia process in Sicily.
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Keywords: Mafia/antimafia; Sicily; family history; modernization; social change

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CUNY Graduate Center 2: Fordham University

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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