Cooperative Modulations: The Antimafia Movement and Struggles over Land and Cooperativism in Eight Sicilian Municipalities.
Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Volume 19 (1)
Theodoros Rakopoulos, 2014
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Debate on the antimafia movement has placed the phenomenon mainly in the urban civil society tradition of new Italian social movements. While acknowledging the resonance of antimafia mobilization in this context, this article explores a different tradition, wherein struggles against the mafia in Sicily are analysed alongside, and in constant interconnection with, the development of the agrarian cooperative movement of the island. Focusing on the Alto Belice area of western Sicily, the article argues that antimafia politics evolved from an association with agricultural workers’ cooperativism in an anti-middleman direction after the 1950s land reform. Moreover, it assesses ethnographically how this tradition has influenced actors in the contemporary, largely successful, movement of antimafia cooperatives that cultivate land confiscated from the mafia by the Italian state. It examines how these actors link to this genealogy, associating their contemporary activity, in largely imaginary ways, to this history of struggles, and claiming inheritance over it.