The thread and the plot of the antimafia in Sicily

Principal researcher: Simona Tomarchio

Research group: Circulation and Place-Making


Mafia | Antimafia | Violence | Beauty

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date





Sicily is referred to as the prototypical case of comparative studies of emerging forms of organized crime elsewhere. Traditional rural and archaic mafia survived and is, nowadays, infiltrated at many levels of the global network society and international scale economy. As a result, the boundaries between the upper world of legality and underworld of illegality have become blurred and have disappeared altogether mainteining in the case of the Sicilian mafia a social and cultural control of the territory (Blok 1974). Antimafia civil movements represent a competing and antagonistic set of values and incontestable drivers of change. During my fieldwork I noticed how the concept of beauty was recurrent and used in contrapposition to mafia. According to this, mafia is the counterpart of something that is beatiful, therefore, morally good and acceptable. Beauty attracts resources, ideas and create synergies contributing to the development of most depressed areas of Sicily.


Jane Schneider (University of New York)

Full members

Miguel Vale de Almeida

Circulation and Place-Making