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Resistance against the Mafia

A Civic Struggle to Defy an Uncontestable Power

Baris Cayli

This study is based on participant observation of a protest against the Mafia that occurred in Rome on 26 September 2009. First, this essay offers an analysis by using symbols and their meanings, which are illustrated through the 'pyramid of social protest'. Second, the framing and process of the protest are analysed. Two new concepts are presented: the culture of lawfulness frame and the implicit contested process. Third, this essay shows that defying the Mafia begins with individual motivation but ends with the collective motivation behind the decision to be an activist. This decision includes ethically oriented reasons rather than being based on a materialistically calculated reasoning. Finally, the struggle of anti-Mafia movement illuminates cultural anthropology through its desire for a progressive society in which strong symbolic interactionism among the activists play an important role.