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COMPARATIVE MAFIA

COMPARATIVE MAFIA
Dr. Vadim Volkov

Associate Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Sociology

The European University at St. Petersburg

volkov@eu.spb.ru

12 weeks, Spring semester 2002

To receive 8 credits students are required to submit one mid-term and one final essay, about 3000 words each. Mid-term essay deadline - Friday, 29th of March; final -Friday, 24th of May.

# Coercion and political power. The state of nature and the civil state. The nature of protection racket. The monopoly of legitimate violence and state formation. Private protection; protection as public good.

# The neoinstitutional approach to markets and government. Property rights, transaction costs, and types of enforcement. The economic analysis of the state. Enforcement, taxation and economic growth.

# Complicated state formation and its consequences. Sicily as a classical case of private protection. Studies and explanatory models of the Sicilian mafia.

# Theories of organized crime and debates over its nature. The mafia (Cosa Nostra) and gangsters in the USA.

# Other types of mafia-like networks: Yakudza, the Triads, Camorra. Local and universal features of organized crime.

# The mafia as a work of art. Watching the movie Godfather I and discussing it in the context of the mafia studies.

# Watching Godfather II and discussing it in the context of the mafia studies.

# The Soviet-time shadow economy and organized crime. Definitions and structure of the shadow economy. The society of vory-v-zakone (thieves-in-law), its evolution, functions, and structure.

# The market reforms after 1987 and the emergence of private entrepreneurs. The demand for protection and enforcement. The economy and culture of protection racket in the 1980s. The formation of organized criminal groups.

# Violent entrepreneurship in Russia in the 1990s. The market of private protection and dispute settlement. Major criminal groups and their evolution. Violent entrepreneurs and their practices. Criminal jargon and subculture.



# The covert fragmentation of the Russian state. Private protection companies and their functions at the emerging markets. The evolution of the state coercive agencies.

# Debates over the Russian mafia. The transition to the market in the weak state and its possible outcomes. Arguments for and against the strong state. Russia's internal security dilemmas and scenarios of state consolidation. Putin's dilemma.




Session 1

Compulsory readings

M. Weber, 'Politics as Vocation'. In H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (Eds), From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. London: Routledge, 1970, p. 77-78; G. Poggi The State: Its Nature, Development, and Prospects. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990, p. 3-33; R. Nozick Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1968, pp. 10-17; 108-119

Other readings

D. Held (Ed) States and Societies. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983. R. Cohen and E. Service Origins of The State: The Anthropology of Political Evolution, Philadelphia: ISHI, 1978; N. Elias The Civilizing Process, Vol. 2. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995, p. 345-355 and 443-457; C. Tilly, 'War Making and State Making as Organized Crime'. In P. Evans et al (eds) Bringing the State Back in. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986; A. Giddens The Nation-State and Violence. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1985; T. Veblen The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Penguin Books, 1984

Session 2

Compulsory readings

D. North Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 27-35; 54-60; D. North Structure and Change in Economic History. New York: Norton, 1981, p. 20-32; T. Eggertsson, Economic Behavior and Institutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 59-79

Other readings

C. Tilly (Ed) The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton, 1975; F. Lane Economic Consequences of Organized Violence. The Journal of Economic History, 1958, XVII, 4, p. 401-417;G. Poggi The Development of the Modern State: A Sociological Introduction. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978; K. Barkey Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996; K. Polanyi The Great Transformation, NY, 1944

Session 3

Compulsory readings

C. Tilly, Introduction to Blok's The Mafia of A Sicilian Village (revised version); P. Arlacchi Mafia Business: The Mafia and the Spirit of Capitalism, London: Verso, 1986, p. 20-54; D. Gambetta The Sicilian Mafia: The Business of Private Protection, Harvard: Harvard University Press,1993

Other readings

A. Blok, The Mafia of A Sicilian Village. Prospect Heights: Waveland Press, 1974; R. Catanzaro Men of Respect: A Social History of the Sicilian Mafia, NY, 1992; H. Hess, Mafia and Mafiosi: The Structure of Power. London: Saxon, 1973, p. 127-153.

Session 4

Compulsory readings

T. Schelling, "What is the Business of Organized Crime". In Choice and Consequences. Cambridge (Mass): Harvard University Press, 1984; Peter Lupsha, "Organized Crime in United States", in R. Kelly, ed., Organized Crime: A Global Perspective, New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986, p. 33-56

Other readings

D. Ruth, Inventing the Public Enemy: The Gangster in American Culture, 1918-1934. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996; H. Abadinsky, The Mafia in America: An Oral History, New York: Praeger, 1981; G. Fiorentini and S. Paitzman The Economics of Organized Crime. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994

Session 5

Compulsory readings

Hiroaki Iwai, "Organized Crime in Japan", in R. Kelly, ed., Organized Crime: A Global Perspective, New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986, p. 214-233; Yiu Kong Chu, The Triads as Business, New York: Routledge, 1999, selected pages

Sessions 6-7

D. Gambetta, "Movies and Mobsters: Why Low Life Imitates Art", manuscript

Session 8

Compulsory readings

J. Serio, A. Razinkin, "Thieves Professing the Code: The Traditional Role of vory v zakone in Russia's Criminal World". Low Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement. 1995, 4, 1, p. 72-88; F. Varese, 'The Society of the vory-v-zakone, 1930s-1950s'. Cahiers du Monde Russe, 39 (4), octobre-decembre 1998, pp. 515-538

Session 9

Compulsory readings

F. Varese, The Russian Mafia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001; V. Karyshev, Zapiski "banditskogo advokata": zakulisnaya zhizn' bratvy glazami "zashchitnika mafii". Moscow: Tsentrpoligraf, 1988, p. 30-40 (in Russian)

Other readings

S. Handelman Comrade Criminal: Russia's New Mafiya. New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1995, p. ; V. Chalidze Criminal Russia. New York: Random House, 1977,

Session 10

Compulsory readings

V. Volkov "Violent Entrepreneurship in Post-Communist Russia". Europe Asia Studies, 1999, 5, p. 741-754; V. Volkov, "Practices", section from Chapter Three of The Monopoly of Force: Violent Entrepreneurs in the Making of Russian Capitalism, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002

Other readings

T. Frisby, 'The Rise of Organised Crime in Russia: Its Roots and Social Significnce', Europe-Asian Studies, 50, 1, 1998, pp. 27-49; P. Williams (Ed) Russian Organized Crime: A New Threat? London: Frank Cass, 1997; J. Albini et al "Russian Organized Crime". In: P. Ryan and G. Rush Understanding Organized Crime in Global Perspective. London: Sage, 1997, p. 153-173; M. Galeotti "The Mafiya and the New Russia". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 1998, 44, 3, p. 415-429; F. Varese What is the Russian Mafia? Low Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement, 1996, vol. 5 No 2; S. Pejovic 'The Transition Process in an Arbitrary State: The Case for the Mafia'. IB Review 1, 1, 1997, pp. 18-23; A. Anderson 'The Red Mafia: A Legacy of Communism'. In E. Lazear, ed. Economic Transition in Europe and Russia: Realities of Reform. Stanford, 1995


Session 11

Compulsory readings

V. Volkov 'Between Economy and the State: Private Protection and Enforcement in Russia'. Politics and Society, No4, December 2000, p. 483-502; M. Waller 'Police, Secret Police, and Civil Authority'. In J. Sachs and K. Pistor (eds.), The Rule of Law and Economic Reform in Russia, New York: Westview Press, 1996, p. 95-121

Other readings

M. Waller "Russia's Great Criminal Revolution: The Role of the Security Services". In: P. Ryan and G. Rush Understanding Organized Crime in Global Perspective. London: Sage, 1997, p. 187-200

Session 12

Compulsory readings

F. Varese 'Is Sicily the Future of Russia? Private Protection and the Rise of the Russian Mafia', Archives Europeennes de Sociologie 35, 1, 1994, p. 224-258; V. Volkov "The withering away of the state"; "Putin's dilemma", Sections from Chapter Six of The Monopoly of Force, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002


SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR ESSAY TOPICS

(These are not compulsory; students are encouraged to invent their own titles)
First essay, themes 1-5


*
* Explain the relationship between property rights, type of enforcement, and economic performance Is there a qualitative difference between the state and protection racket?
* Does the mafia provide real or imaginary services when it offers protection?
* Compare the existing interpretations of the Sicilian mafia and assess their relative explanatory power
* Why did the mafia emerge in Sicily and not in other countries (regions) of the world?
* Assess the strong sides and shortcoming of the economic vision of organized crime. Should society aim at eliminating organized crime?
* "Organized crime is a primitive and predatory form of elementary capitalism and rudimentary power politics" (P. Lupsha). Do you agree? Justify your answer.

Second essay, themes 8-12


*
* To what extent the society of vory-v-zakone is a uniquely Soviet criminal phenomenon? What caused the rise of post-Soviet organized crime?
* What is the best way to conceptualize the post-Soviet criminal phenomena
* "The Russian mafia is a legacy of communism" (Handelman). Do you agree?
* Relate the business of private protection to market building and state formation in Russia
* Compare violent entrepreneurship in Russia to other existing types of mafia-like networks
* Why criminal groups turn into legitimate business enterprises?
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