212 L. Paoli1 An Underestimated Criminal Phenomenon: The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta 1. A FEW HISTORIAL 1`IOTES Ori A WORD AriD A PHEriOMEriOri The criminal phenomenon named 'ndrangheta is understood as an aggregate of mafia2 families - according to the latest police inquiries they should be about 853 - whose base is in Reggio Calabria province and in its environs and their ramifications in Italy and abroad.4 Only after World War II did the word 'ndrangheta undergo a 'process of criminalization' and started to be used to name organized crime of Calabrian origin.5 With almost absolute certainty, the term itself comes from the Greek word andragaqos, (which means a courageous and brave man). Up to few decades ago, most of the population of Reggio Calabria province used it to indicate a high degree of heroism and virtue, which was embodied in a superior elite, the 'ndranghetisti. In the Calabrian dialect, 'ndranghetista used to mean 'member of the Onorata Societ9' (Honoured Society) and there are some judicial documents of the sec- ond half the XIX century that confirm the existence of coalitions of 'ndranghetisti active in 1. Ph.D. Student, Department of Social and Political Sciences, European University Institute, Firenze, Italy. 2.
European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1994
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