The 'Ndrangheta between imprisonment reality and organizational ideality: a psychological clinical research.

Emanuela Coppola, Serena Giunta, Girolamo Lo Verso


Mafia is a complex, pervasive, terrifying phenomenon which has troubled the more disparate brains, competences and expertises. Science, specially psichological-clinic, cannot evade producing its cognitive contribution helping in the work due to contrast through cultural and social-clinic intervention instruments. It is necessary to achieve a contingent and severe, composite and deepened contextual and historicized analysis of the psychic displays related to the mafia phenomenon.
Clinical psychology first task, in this way, is to consider the phenomenon's psychological thickness, the social trouble proportions which it has created, by encouraging cognitive emotional and cultural clearness, even when it takes to trouble cosciences and disturb society's self evaluation: in clinical research and practice, honest view represent essential precondition for change.
We often see two-dimensional news with forgettable names, scenes of cartridge cases hooped with chalk, sheets on the asphalt, bodies in some way all the same. But the are not all the same.
Victims have names and faces, Mafias have places and towns. South criminal systems present exact anthropological rootings that are identitary corpus on which are organized internal structures, rules, criminal activities, psyche of members of Mafia.
To keep sald this principle of non-superposition and of specifity, from the writers point of view, it is essential to understand the phenomenon, as often the homogenization of the research objects, of their sources, of their social transformation is the most tricky obstacle to its comprehension (Carli & Paniccia, 2003). In the study of criminal systems, without an exact collocation and definition of boundaries, occurs the risk setting to zero the phenomenon's intelligibility and of being psychologically overwhelmed by the abnormal proportions it seems to assume. It appears obvious how the methodological choice to locate our objects of research responds to two requirements that cannot be disregarded: one of epystemological matrix which regards the inquired 
phenomenon delimitation to individualized the context composition in which it sets (Ceruti & Lo Verso, 1998); the other one of an exquisitely psychological kind which allows to unmask emotionalmanipulation strategies adopted by Mafias. I.e. task of the psychological – clinic work is to distinguish, redesign, reshuffle, break mafias' almightiness suggestions that feed peoples' fears and defeatism. For this reason, our research group has chosen, in the last years, to operate on the psycho-anthropological location of Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta and Camorra to focus a realistic view on the individualization of possibilities to crime and to develop the South.
This clearly without shading the symbolical and factual net of connections which ties the three greats mafias, but avoiding worrying and fascinating blow ups which collude with the criminal systems' desiring power.
During our research, our ferryage from a macroscopic to a microscopic paradigm regarded in first place Cosa Nostra, whose organizational complexity leads to interweave a peculiar relation with each territorial context in which it is deeply rooted (Giorgi, Giunta, Coppola & Lo Verso G., 2009).
This prospect of research could not exclude an attention psychologically geographically and culturally aimed also towards the other Mafias. In the awareness  of the less accuracy of  observation that regard not yet town reality (as it was for research in Sicily) as regional conformation we are today tring to realize a first psychological framing of the meaning features which criminal systems take in the other areas of the south.
The following work is part of this hard and complex cognitive project and it adds a knowledge segment about one of the huger criminal organization in our country: the 'Ndrangheta.
We offer here a calabrian Mafia reading trough informations come out from an intervention research on S. Pietro di Reggio Calabria's prison where there are prisoners with a pending conviction for mafia association. After a short description of the 'Ndrangheta structure, the research contribution offers a reading view of  the prison by a special instrument of setting observation which allows to context observations in the specific action range.
Backbone of this work, from a theoric and methodological point of view, is the qualitative analysis of the clinic-social elaboration groups occurred with the prisoners, who represented the main source for new research data.
We also point out the explorative character of this work as there is no literature to which refer.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363