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How criminal organisations exert secret power over communities: An intracultural appropriation theory of cultural values and norms

Travaglino, Giovanni A., Abrams, Dominic (2019) How criminal organisations exert secret power over communities: An intracultural appropriation theory of cultural values and norms. European Review of Social Psychology, 30 (1). pp. 74-122. ISSN 1046-3283. E-ISSN 1479-277X. (doi:10.1080/10463283.2019.1621128) (KAR id:76303)

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Abstract

Criminal organisations have the ability to exert secret power – governance over the community and inhibition of opposition (omertà). Traditionally, omertà has been attributed to fear or passivity. Here, a model grounded in different premises, Intracultural Appropriation Theory (ICAT), stresses the central role of culture in sustaining relations of domination between groups. Specifically, ICAT contends that non-state agents achieve legitimacy among people by claiming to embody cultural values shared within the community. In the case of Italian organised crime, criminal organisations’ adherence to values of masculine honour bestows legitimacy on their actions, enabling them to exert secret power. We report evidence in support of this proposition, and derive a new formulation of omertà focussing on social identity, emotions and social change beliefs. We suggest that the theory contributes to a new perspective for the analysis of culture, political action, and honour, and that it should generalise in other contexts and countries.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/10463283.2019.1621128
Uncontrolled keywords: Omertà, power, criminal organisations, honour values, collective action, intracultural appropriation theory, culture, ideology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Giovanni Travaglino
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2019 06:59 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:07 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/76303 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Travaglino, Giovanni A.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4091-0634
Abrams, Dominic: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2113-4572
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