Women and transnational organized crime: the ambiguous case of the italian Mafias

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Abstract

In this chapter, I am interested in discussing the roles of women in TOC. But, if we are to study the roles of women in the criminal universe of the Italian Mafia in any detail, we must first begin by deconstructing the prejudices that have sprung up over time on this subject. The first of these is the notion of the marginalisation of women, both inside and outside the Mafia. A cursory reading of the existing literature devoted to the phenomenon shows that it has served the purposes of the Mafia organisations it describes, in that the narrative that has developed on the exclusion of women from criminal environments has always been intended as a safety valve for them, creating an area entirely safe from prying eyes. If we question female ‘extraneousness’ from the Mafia, this means re-discussing their position by observing them from a double perspective: internal and external to the criminal context. If we reflect on the factors defining their position, we realise how the boundaries between the inside and the outside are not clear and how belonging to a Mafia context does not exhaust the identity of women, nor univocally determine their actions, which are expressed in various ways by different personalities, experiences and contexts. Some theoretical issues, however, need to be highlighted: the first concerns the ‘contaminated’ dimension of the ‘space’ of analysis. The difficulty of maintaining an aseptic vision is a constant of this study that requires taking a look that neither isolates nor ghettoises but that draws on multiple theoretical paradigms, keeping together a ‘right distance’ and a careful listening ability. I chose, therefore, to overturn the perspective of deconstructing the female images, ‘deformed’ by the gaze of men, to listen to their stories; considering the construction of the feminine as a public narrative that feeds and is fuelled by processes of ‘differential socialisation’.A second issue is that of ‘positioning’. I refer to the ‘performative geographies’ elaborated by Pickering-Iazzi when dealing with stories of Mafia women. These perspectives of analysis transform ‘places’ into ‘social spaces’, where the encounter takes place and the identities are produced. I would like to draw attention to the contaminated dimension of the story generated on the border areas, recognising in that contamination the characteristic feature of the encounter with Mafia women: a condition with which to deal from a methodological point of view.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteThe Routledge Handbook of Transnational Organized Crime (Secon Edition)
Pagine354-370
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2022

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