Accepted Paper:

Bows and "masculiate" (fireworks)  

Author:

Berardino Palumbo (University of Messina)

Paper short abstract:

Over the past few years Italian media have focused their attention on cases where the presence of the organized crime has manifested itself in public rituals of the Catholic devotional tradition. I will try to analyze such a connection basing my interpretation on a long term Sicilian ethnography.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past few years Italian media have focused their attention on cases where the presence of the organized crime has manifested itself in public rituals of the Catholic devotional tradition. In many Southern Italian contexts the ecclesiastical hierarchies have distanced themselves in an ever more marked way from similar devotional practices and from the control criminal organizations are supposed to exert upon them. It seems to me that similar events deserve a specific anthropological and ethnographic focus, also because of the prejudices gathering around the so-called "bows". In fact such a religion in Italian public debates is entrapped between a disemic attitude, which allows changing positions in the national public space, and a long running brescianesimo (Gramsci) that, using irony, immobilizes national and global hierarchies of values, and sanctions the archaic, not modern character of social practices. But, first of all, how to read such a bows-religion? To answer this question from an anthropological perspective we need to deconstruct notions that current public debates take for granted: that of "public space", for example, but also those of "modernity", "politics", "religion", and obviously the moral economy of the "modern self". In my communication I will try to disjoint some of these conceptual cruxes basing my analysis on a long term Sicilian ethnography.

Panel P049
What are we talking about when we talk about the Mafia? Futures of a contested term