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The Human Economy
From Clans to Co-ops
Confiscated Mafia Land in Sicily
244 pages, 19 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-400-9 $95.00/£67.00 Hb Not Yet Published (July 2017)
“Erudite and readable, scholarly and passionate, this stunning ethnography reveals how the Sicilian anti-mafia movement shares with the mafia deep-seated social bonds no less significant than the mutual enmity that divides and defines them. Focusing on the anti-mafia’s cooperative movement, which credits itself with the relative peace that Sicily now enjoys, Rakopoulos whisks from the mists of sinister secrecy a detailed and riveting portrait of the pas de deuxof social complicity and ethical engagement that has enabled this new configuration to emerge within the ethos of modern capitalism.” · Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University
“This theoretically-sophisticated ethnography will not only change popular images of Sicily, it will also provide hope for those struggling to find new ways of organizing life in today’s troubled world. A seminal contribution to human economy.” · Chris Gregory, ANU College of Arts and Social Science
“Based on sensitive fieldwork and thorough ethnographic research, this is a marvelous account of the anti-mafia co-op project in Palermo, Sicily, which aims to transform landholdings previously owned by mafia families into functioning anti-mafia cooperatives. From Clans to Co-ops not only takes readers inside the dynamics of these producer cooperatives, but also usefully reviews cooperatives from other places and other times.” · Peter Schneider, Fordham University
From Clans to Co-ops explores the social, political, and economic relations that enable the constitution of cooperatives operating on land confiscated from mafiosi in Sicily, a project that the state hails as arguably the greatest symbolic victory over the mafia in Italian history. Rakopoulos’s ethnographic focus is on access to resources, divisions of labor, ideologies of community and food, and the material changes that cooperatives bring to people’s lives in terms of kinship, work and land management. The book contributes to broader debates about cooperativism, how labor might be salvaged from market fundamentalism, and to emergent discourses about the ‘human’ economy.
Theodoros Rakopoulos currently works as Research Fellow at the University of Bergen and has previously worked at the Human Economy Programme (University of Pretoria). He has conducted long-term fieldwork in rural Sicily and urban Greece. His interests include food sovereignty and activism, solidarity, mafia and antimafia, land administration, labour and cooperatives, and has published extensively in anthropological and regional journals. His edited volume (The Global Life of Austerity) is due for publication in early 2017 by Berghahn.
Subject: General Anthropology Political Economy
Area: Southern Europe
LC: HD3505.A3 S5365 2017
BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; POL023000 POLITICAL SCIENCE/Political Economy
BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography; KCP Political economy
From Clans to Co-ops: Confiscated Mafia Land in Sicily by Theodoros Rakopoulos is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
This edition is supported by the University of Bergen.
OA ISBN: 978-1-78533-606-5
List of Illustrations and Tables
Chapter 1. Problems with Cooperatives
Chapter 2. The Anthropology of Co-ops, the Mafia and the Sicilian Lens
Chapter 3. Cooperatives and the Historical Anti-mafia Movement
Chapter 4. Worldviews of Labour: Legality and Food Ideologies
Chapter 5. The Limits of ‘Bad Kinship’: Sicilian Anti-mafia Families
Chapter 6. The Use of Gossip: Setting Cooperative Boundaries
Chapter 7. ‘Wage Is Male—But Land Is a Woman’
Chapter 8. Community Troubles: Cooperative Conundrum
Chapter 9. Divided by Land: Mafia and Anti-mafia Proximity
Conclusion: The Private Life of Political Cooperativism
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