The essay analyses certain methodological issues about the use of life histories and biographic narrations in contexts where researchers deal with mafia organised crime. Starting from the depositions of men and women belonging to the world of Cosa Nostra (acquired during a wide time range), the paper focuses on a complex study experience: Gaspare Spatuzza’s recounting of his own life story, during numerous sessions, while he was in jail in a secret locality. In this analytical scenario, the question arises about how to place the “topic” mafias inside “symbolic spaces”, on which the epistemology of narration is founded. A narration that questions (from a methodological perspective) the sense of narration itself, finding an anchor in “combinatory logics”. The difficulty in its positioning, the contaminated dimension of narration, the “performative muddle” generated by meeting in a border zone are the core of the analysis. It is exactly the intricate ambiguity of the individuals who move inside mafias geographies that seems to ask the researcher for the setting-up of analytical categories, observational methods and criteria to define the “truth”, which meet “epistemic opacities” instead of solid certainties. It is clear, at this point, that ambivalence and contamination are characteristic traits of this type of research; elements that researchers experience in every situation that involves the mafia context: “conditions”, then, with which one has to, methodologically, deal with every time.
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|