Title: Mafia, Anti-mafia, and the Struggle for Palermo, 1950-1995
Name: Peter T. Schneider and Jane Schneider
Schneider@fordham.edu
Year: 1999
Type: Research Grant
Summary:

The principal findings of research supported by the foundation are represented in the book Reversible Destiny: Mafia, Anti-mafia, and the Struggle for Palermo, Jane C. Schneider and Peter T. Schneider, 2003. Most of the research was conducted in the Sicilian regional capital, the city of Palermo, between 1987 and 2000, although it benefited from earlier ethnographic field studies in interior towns. It combined participant observation with analysis of archival sources, the depositions of justice collaborators, and interviews with magistrates, police officers, government leaders, and citizen activists in the anti-mafia movement. We also conducted a sample survey of 30 working class families in several popular quarters of the city. Reversible Destiny traces the history of the Sicilian mafia to its nineteenth century roots and examines its late twentieth-century involvement in urban real estate and construction as well as drugs. This book suggests lessons regarding secretive organized crime: its capacity to reproduce a subculture of violence through time, its acquisition of a dense connective web of political and financial protectors during the Cold War era, and the sad reality that repressing it risks harming vulnerable people and communities. Charting the efforts of both the judiciary and a citizen's social movement to reverse the mafia's economic, political, and cultural power, the book establishes a framework for understanding both the difficulties and the accomplishments of Sicily's multifaceted anti-mafia efforts.

Bibliography: Schneider, Jane C. and Peter T. Schneider.Reversible Destiny: Mafia, Anti-mafia, and the Struggle for Palermo, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2003.