The Sacred Oath of a Secret Ritual: Performing Authority and Submission in the Mafia Initiation Ceremony

Rossella Merlino


This paper draws on socio-anthropological theories of ritual and performance to analyse the initiation ceremony of the Sicilian mafia in relation to questions of power, authority and submission. In particular, it looks at the oath of loyalty sworn during the ceremony as a highly symbolic ritual practice which contributes to maintaining and strengthening the social structure of the group and itscollective identity.

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ISSN 1749-9771

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