Italian Mafias’ Asymmetries

Ernesto Ugo Savona

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Italian organized crime groups—namely, Cosa Nostra, the Camorra and the ‘Ndrangheta—have often been identified with the single name “mafia”. However, despite some similarities especially in the business of private protection, Italian mafias present several differences which become asymmetries due to a centralized anti-mafia legislation and a centralized law enforcement and judicial system. They have had a different impact on criminal organizations with different cultures, traditions and power over the territory, as well as different regard by the State and civil society. After a brief outlook on the main features of the three criminal organizations and the changes they have experienced in the last decades, this chapter focuses on the broad spectrum of illegal activities conducted and the business opportunities exploited by each of them in order to highlight the main differences. On the basis of these differences, reactions of the State and the civil society are then examined, pointing out how the same legislation has had a different impact on the existence and the activities of the three Italian mafias.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTraditional Organized Crime in the Modern World
EditorsDina Siegel, Henk Van Den Bunt
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Italian Mafia
  • traditional criminal organizations


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