Deviance of Organized Crime

Topics: Criminology, Sociology, Mafia Pages: 7 (2642 words) Published: November 9, 2011
The "Mafia" is alive and well in Canadian society. Many people in society are intrigued by this group of deviants and due to societies glorification of the Mafia some may argue whether or not the Mafia is even deviant at all. However one just needs to read the article "Montreal godfather murder déjà vu" by Antonio Nicaso, in which he demonstrates how organized crime can develop deep roots in society. Nicolò Rizzuto was raised in environment of criminal activity in Sicily, and continued that lifestyle when he immigrated to Canada in 1954. The family settled into an Italian neighbourhood and Nicolò became a member of the Cotroni organization, a branch of the powerful New York-based Bonanno family. He rose to the top in the late 1970s, after the murders of Paolo Violi and his brothers Francesco and Rocco. Nicolò and his son, Vito, eventually ran a sophisticated crime family with global tentacles.

The family ties are strong, long lasting and far reaching in this society, no different really then other large families, the discriminating factor of course is the acceptance of criminal activity, and in fact it is a way of life. According to Francis Ianni's A Family Business, as reviewed by (James F. Short & Lotz, July 1975), in Sicily the word Mafia has two meanings, one is the term meaning the Mafia as an organization and the other is that the Mafia is an attitude, which has its own set of principles, code of ethics and the code of silence. In Canadian society the term is interchangeable. The code of behaviour is passed down from generation to generation.

In my analysis and research on this topic I discovered that, if you are brought up in a criminal environment, your odds of becoming a criminal are exceptionally high as the socialization process into a life of crime starts very early.

The sociological theories behind organized crime are the same as what drives anyone else to a life of crime; environment, power, and family values. In order to support my argument we look at three theories in particular, strain, differential association and control theory. Strain theory, which theorizes that crime, is simply a way to fulfill the desire to accumulate wealth and build power. Another interesting approach is differential association theory in which every new immigrant population finds social boundaries to its desires to achieve the "Canadian Dream" and eventually utilizes a form of organized crime to achieve this dream albeit illegally. Lastly, we look at social control theory, which suggests that community, family, and the bond with society prevents or encourages entry into a life of crime. It is the fear of punishment, shame or embarrassment, and an individual's conscience that explains why someone who has the opportunity will or will not engage in criminal activity. It is this theory that in my opinion is the one most closely associated with the deviance in organized crime.

As supported by strain theory, the lure of this life of crime is power, both monetary and political. In some cases, crime bosses often have a high social standing and are sought after by politicians, corporate leaders, and sometimes even religious leaders. Many times these organized criminals are asked to influence political causes and elections, but the biggest attraction is the vast sums of revenue generated by organized crime, this gives the head of the organization a great deal of wealth and power.

For instance, the article Montreal Godfather deja vu (Nicaso, 2010), describes the Rizzuto families immigration to Canada in 1954. The condition for Italian immigrants in Montreal, or any large Canadian city, at the time was similar to that in Sicily, as a result of this Rizzuto had ample opportunity to continue and even further the Mafia organization. According to the work by F. Ianni as reviewed by (James F. Short & Lotz, July 1975), the Mafia was originally established as a secret society to fight the oppression by the rich, the state, and the...
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