Original article 



  Vittorio Martone*

Abstract: If we consider the economic, social, and environmental aspects of a city, Naples and its surrounding municipalities have developed in a very unique way. Its local model of development is essentially based on State intervention and it is characterised by two main features: (1) an excessive concentration of infrastructures associated with a chaotic urban sprawl, and (2) a high presence of legal and illegal garbage dumps. The mainstream explanation ascribes such development to the spread of political and administrative clientelism, along with the violent and conservative support of the Neapolitan Mafia, the Camorra. From this perspective, clientelism and Camorra groups represent two different heritages of the Neapolitan socio-cultural tradition; two “pathologies” in the building process of the Italian State. This paper critically discusses this thesis. To do this, the role of political-criminal networks in the Campania Region is discussed, and their role is analysed within the broader process of social regulation of local governance. Furthermore, this article demonstrates how in a complex system of intersecting networks, Camorra clans have become “stakeholders” in the local governance. This article presents the results of empirical research on the ins-and-outs of local governance in the local construction and waste management industries in North Campania, where the renowned Casalesi clan—one of the most powerful mafia groups in Italy—is historically rooted.

Keywords: Mafia, Neapolitan Camorra; Environmental Governance; Local Development; Public Private Partnership; Campania *Vittorio Martone is a teaching fellow in the Department of Social Sciences, University of

Naples Federico II, Italy, where he received his PhD in 2010. Email: vittorio.martone@unina.it

The European Review of Organised Crime 1(2), 2014, 57-80 ISSN: 2312-1653 © ECPR Standing Group of Organised Crime.

For permissions please email: eurocjournal@gmail.com


The Italian region of Campania has been managed by a misconceived model of development, recently defined as an “anti-model” (Corona and Sciarrone, 2012: 14), which has developed over the last sixty years. Even though this model of development was initially viewed as a positive transformation, it soon revealed itself to be abnormal, because it was supported by special funding and massive infrastructural building projects (di Gennaro and Innamorato, 2005). Additionally, this model generated a spontaneous and chaotic outburst of construction projects (in particular, the building of houses). Within this context, during the last twenty years the spread of hundreds of urban and industrial garbage dumps and storage areas, both legal and illegal, has been witnessed.

These conditions of development were mostly due to the presence of Camorra groups and corruption that allegedly characterised national and local political institutions (Sales, 2006; Lamberti, 2009; Barbagallo, 2010). Starting from this assumption, this study investigates the role of Camorra clans as “stakeholders” in the wider process of economic and social governance of the Campania region. In other words, it aims to investigate how in a geographical area marked by both a strong presence of Camorra groups on the one hand and political and business systems on the other, they can work together to generate specific economic and criminal conditions, supported by the public economy, which give rise to an unsustainable use of local land. The basic assumption here is that Camorra clans, after becoming involved in the local public construction industry and in the waste management cycle, are now genuine “stakeholders” in the governance of the territory, taking a leading role in land planning (for example, in the case of infrastructure building) and in the management of garbage dumps and storage area.

The analytical framework used here refers to urban governance as a nonhierarchical model of governing, where public and private actors participate in the formulation and implementation of public policies (Mayntz, 1996; Le Galès, 1998; Bobbio, 2002[2]). The territorial level is the meeting point of new hybrid, multi-lateral forms of governance, where multiple stakeholders and partnership agreements take place in institutionalising relations between State and non-State actors. In order to explain this assumption, we focus on the various relations that the “stakeholderCamorra” entertains with the State and the market. As the market is included in this model, the manner in which the construction and garbage sectors work through several types of public and private cooperation has to be taken into consideration. Therefore, markets supported by public funds facilitate the criminal infiltration of local government as well as Camorra-connected companies that create partnerships with local authorities. With regard to the State, the organisational role of local governments has become a major actor in the market through ad-hoc funding and projects (Catanzaro, 1983), and therefore a unique source of jobs, salaries, and financial support. The market and the State will both also be analysed.

This study analyses two assumptions prevailing in the sociological debate. The first looks at Italian mafias in their “external and relational side” (Sciarrone, 2009: 2011): the mafia is seen as a local phenomenon, traditionally, deeply-rooted in a set environment where it builds, manages, and activates its networks in different institutional contexts. The second assumption focuses on the land governance of mafias: mafia groups, through their military control of the territory have permanent relations with public institutions and are seemingly able to invade areas typically under State authority (Pezzino, 1990; Becchi, 2000; Sciarrone, 2006).

This article is structured as follows: in the first section the territorial, economic, and criminal context of the Campania region and, in particular, the region north of Naples is described[3]. Next, the models of governance of the public construction industry and garbage management in Campania shall be analysed, highlighting the gaps which have allowed Camorra clans to gain a foothold. Finally, the consequences of the aforementioned models of governance in terms of management of land development and consumption shall be summarised.

This article is mainly based on a content analysis of judiciary acts emitted by the Courts in Naples and Santa Maria Capua Vetere[4] and complemented by official sources such as reports by Parliament Committees and other local administrative documents. A series of interviews with observers and witnesses and an analysis of the local press were also carried out. The analysis of institutional documents and other information collected in the field have made it possible to map out the stakeholders of the public construction industry and the garbage management sector, to better define the issues at stake, and to present a model of public/private relationships. To improve the analytical framework, a social network analysis was used to show the relationships between Camorra clans, entrepreneurs, politicians, professionals, and civil servants[5].


The economic development of the Campania region has always taken advantage of emergency situations in a typical reactive way, traditionally characterised by the important role of local government (Catanzaro et al., 2001; Burroni et al., 2009; di Gennaro, 2014). An example of this is the reconstruction of Italy after the Second World War with the creation of the Cassa del Mezzogiorno[6] and after the Irpinia earthquake in 1980[7], both which gave local government powers to distribute huge funds for the reconstruction of local public and private buildings; and more recently, the “garbage emergency” (1994-2010) which caused yet another important flow of funds into the regional economy (Gribaudi, 2008). This consensual and reactive approach to policy problems (Richardson, 1982) has little by little increased the power of local government, especially in its distribution of funds. This has led to forms of concentration, privatisation, and uncontrollability of public action, and to a flourishing of malpractices in the management of expenditure (Barbagallo, 2010; Corona and Sciarrone, 2012). An “imperfect” development was created locally (Sapelli, 1998), supported by a weakness of the market and legal voids along with widespread malpractices in the local economy, especially in the construction sector (Becchi, 1984, 2000). Such elements contributed to creating a power vacuum, which was systematically exploited by local mafia groups.

In the first century after the Unification of Italy (1860-1960), the population of Campania doubled its size and so did the land destined for urban construction, which rose from 10.000 to 20.000 hectares[8] (see figure 1). In about 40 years, the towns in Campania have got five times bigger, reaching 100.000 hectares in 2000, while the population in the region grew “only” by 20% (di Lorenzo and di Gennaro, 2008). This situation has been created by a territorial economy initially based on demographic growth that soon turned to an income-based economy. The population growth and construction expansion affected not only the metropolitan area of Naples, which was at the time already saturated, but also the hinterland area and especially the northern coast of the town, creating a 100 kilometre-long urban area running from Caserta to the municipalities around the Vesuvius, occupying 15% of the territory with a total of 4 million inhabitants (De Lucia and Frisch, 2008). Such a model of development is peculiar to all metropolitan areas in Southern Italy and can be ascribed to the extraordinary rise of the so-called “tertiary sector”—i.e., activities related to public funding (public infrastructure, home building, state jobs, and social security) or to traditional commerce (often informal or illegal). Within this context, urban development in Campania can be said to represent “a pathological phenomenon, maybe the worst symptom of the negative effects of a lack of a modern economic development in Southern society” (Rossi Doria, 1982: 199-200). Urbanisation was followed by the fall of the “agricultural coalition”[9] and by the rise of “a single system of social and political power” (ibid.) characterised by real estate property, companies with their landsurveyors, politics, and Camorra clans. All of them were supported by a total lack of urban planning tools and controls[10].

The industrial development in Campania has always relied on public state funds from the Cassa del Mezzogiorno, which led to a so-called “development without autonomy” (Trigilia, 1994). This did not stimulate local production. Camorra clans started to invest in the only sector that remained the major source of profit in the region: the private and public construction industries. In 1980, yet another special state intervention brought important funds into Campania to support the post-earthquake reconstruction[11]. While the industrial policy created unemployment and became disunited, the construction sector enjoyed a rise of 52% in the decade 1981-1991, doubling the number of rooms per person (Andretta, 2009).

The “garbage emergency” (1994-2010) substantially remains into this model, which is based largely on special State funding. Public spending had created thousands of jobs[12]. The system of garbage collection, transportation, plant management, production, and stocking represents on the other hand, an informal employment policy. Since 2000, local institutions, public/private companies, consortiums, and private companies involved in garbage management have created about 25.000 jobs, mainly within informal illegal/legal networks[13].

Because of local political corruption and a lack of proper institutional control local agencies and institutions have become key distribution nodes of public spending letting Camorra clans take on a major role as urban planners. This phenomenon is particularly evident if we restrict our analysis to the area of Naples between the Vesuvius and the north of the region.

Figure 1 – Campania. The urban settling process between concrete and waste (1860 – 2000)

Source: author’s own elaboration

The Casalesi clan is one of the most business-oriented Camorra groups that has been active in reinvesting profits from illegal activities into legal companies. It is worth highlighting at least three common features of this type of Camorra clan[14]: i) a peculiar inclination towards business; ii) the creation of a strong network of external relations, in particular in relation to the local administration of public bids; and iii) a precise criminal and economic strategy, based on an excessive and unsustainable use of land (Martone, 2012).

The Casalesi clan is described in judiciary documents as a particularly compact structure, with a federation of groups connected to a central decision-making body and administration unit (Santa Maria Capua Vetere Court, 1986, 1996, 2006, 2008). The literature highlights the Casalesi’s business disposition with its clear ability to reinvest illegal funds in complex businesses, and to build up wide and articulate networks of external supporters, especially in the land management sectors (construction, infrastructures, and waste management) (Anselmo and Braucci, 2008; Di Fiore, 2008). As already mentioned, at the beginning of the 1970s, there was a massive urban expansion of Naples towards its periphery which led to a shapeless and messy urban development. The weak ruling capabilities of the local government generated widespread illegal building constructions and reinforced the underground economy (Amato, 2003). In this scenario, the Casalesi clan was able to consolidate its first phase of capital accumulation and its modus operandi as a proper enterprise by relying on its capillary infiltration of the construction industry (Monzini, 1999).

Clan members themselves, often at the top of the hierarchy inside the clan, invested capital made from extortions and other illegal activities into construction companies (Barbagallo, 2010). All of the main emerging bosses of the Casalesi Clan founded their own company in this industry. From the end of the 1980s members of the Schiavone’s family15, who were already involved in the cement business, extended their investments into the mozzarella DOP16 industry and, from the 1990s, into the transport sector17. The business success of another Camorra family the Zagarias started from the construction industry too (Nola Court, 2003). They also extended their business portfolio, investing in the agricultural and food industries, and real estate speculation. Pasquale Zagaria, also known as Bin Laden due to his impressive wealth and the brother of the boss, Michele, is the best example of the entrepreneurial disposition of Camorra clans in the province of Caserta. Pasquale was the owner of EdilMoter, a building a compact organisational structure supported by a strong business orientation (like in the case of the Casalesi Clan or Nuvoletta, Alfieri and Galasso); the second one, deep rooted in Naples districts and boroughs, seems to be less capable of controlling the economic and institutional context (like the Birra-Iacomino, Stolder or Sarno) (Sales, 2006; Brancaccio, 2009, 2011).

  • It is one of the two most powerful clans that make up the “diarchy” currently at the height of the Casalesi clan (see Note 3).
  • Mozzarella cheese DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) of Caserta is a source of huge profits for the Schiavones, but also for the Zagaria and Iovine clans, who directly manage the dairy factories, impose their products as a monopoly, and operate illegally by using buffalo milk coming from areas outside the DOP area (Lombardy, Rumania and other countries of East Europe).
  • Through the control of the company La Paganese, the Schiavones managed to control the majority of transport on wheel to and from the vegetable markets of Central and Southern Italy (Palidda, 2011; Brancaccio and Martone, 2014).

company that flourished with post-earthquake tenders, he succeeded in exporting the way in which Camorra clans controlled the legal and illegal markets into other Italian regions and into other market sectors too[15].

But what really gained strength during the period of the Casalesi’s infiltration into public tenders process was its network of connections that started from its control over local authorities to managing “all segments of society in a single criminal scheme. So much so that it is possible to say that the real strength of the Casalesi clan is in the network of collusion and complicity they managed to build up over the years” (Lamberti, 2009: 501, author’s translation). From this perspective, the Casalesi clan is firmly situated within a broader network of public and private actors. Between the 1980s and the 1990s, the clan established solid relations with local politicians and institutional leaders. It built up a strong influence over local councils[16] by getting members of the clan to run for elections[17]. Overall, Camorra sponsored politicians were placed into a system of widespread collusion, whereby they exploited the complicity of managers, officers, public servants, local police, businessmen, and professionals. This type of widespread corruption and collusion produced devastating effects for land consumption, the third and last feature peculiar to the Caserta context. As the Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Committee wrote, back in the 1990s:

The rule of Camorra clans has meant a waste of resources, a lack of productivity, insufficient and inefficient services, but most of all widespread illegality [with the consequent spread] of illegal buildings and an absence of urban planning […]: 80 % of buildings should be demolished [even if] demolition ordinances probably will never be executed for lack of funds and for the difficulty of demolishing bunker houses which represent illegal building belonging to clan bosses (Pac, 1993:1380-1).

It is against the background of this massive and unregulated building projects that the garbage management business appears to be nothing but the latest version of a criminal model of the economy that receives its profits through the exploitation of the territory and takes advantage of the institutions that were responsible for urban planning. The Casalesi clan, with its own businesses, gradually managed to combine profits from both its waste management and cement companies, showing the biggest interest by a mafia towards this business sector. Garbage management represents a privileged area of interest for criminal strategies for two main reasons: firstly, the market—where Camorra companies work both in legal and illegal markets—and secondly, the State—where Camorra clans exert their power which is deeply rooted in their territory and from which they can control local councils.


For a better understanding of the way in which the Casalesi clan has succeeded in entering the private and public construction industry and garbage sectors, we now analyse these two sectors by presenting an analytical diagram (see table 1) for each based on four analytical dimensions: i) the institutional and normative frameworks dictating the rules of the game; ii) the role of local administrations in the two sectors; iii) the features of local markets; iv) the role of the clan in the network of relations.

Table 1 – Concrete and garbage: analytical diagram for the comparison

Source: author’s own elaboration

The concrete cycle

Before discussing the institutional and normative framework of the public construction industry, it is necessary to look at the two main sources of State funding in the post war period: (1) the Cassa del Mezzogiorno and (2) the post-earthquake reconstruction fund. After the first phase (1950-1957) aimed at infrastructure building[18]the Cassa was reorganised with a top down approach (1958-1992): local councils gained wider powers in urban planning and management[19]. In particular, they created the Aree di Sviluppo Industriale provinciali (A.S.I.) (local industrial development areas) and the Nuclei d’industrializzazione comunali (N.I.) (Council industrialisation units) and joined together to create public consortiums for industrial development. The consortium’s aims were to build public infrastructures, plan new urban developments, provide land and support initiatives in the market (see figure 2). Private companies were allowed to join these new public consortiums. In this way companies connected to the Casalesi clan entered the cement market through these consortiums.

This is when the founder of the Casalesi clan, Antonio Bardellino appeared on the scene and invented the so-called ‘entrepreneurial mafia’, encouraging the creation of consortiums for the supply of sand, concrete and building material. Later these consortiums were to come under the control of the organised crime who thus earned the complete ownership of the building business in the area of Caserta (Parliamentary Committee for Waste Cycle, 2006: 557).

In 1983, he founded Cedic Consortium, a company that produced concrete. Through this consortium, Bardellino established a monopoly in the production of building materials in the whole province of Caserta[20]. The companies belonging to the consortium—that paid substantial entrance fees—were supported in winning tenders and working in total tranquillity. The Spartacus sentence (Santa Maria C.V Court., 2006)[21] declared that by the end of the 1980s the Casalesi’ companies manipulated public bids thanks to their direct contacts with local councils.

Figure 2 – The system of governance in the building sector (1959-1992)

Source: author’s own elaboration

All bids higher than 100 million Lire (approximately EUR50.000) had to be formally attributed to companies that, in turn, were to be sub-contracted to the Casalesi clans’ companies (Barbagallo, 1999). In other words, public works were attributed to important national industrial groups to be subdivided into smaller lots and then subcontracted out to companies connected to the Casalesi clan. As we mentioned, in 1990, nearly all of the cement production companies belonging to the Caserta A.S.I. were members of the Cedic Consortium (see figure 3).  This created a monopoly that caused a huge price rise. It was not at all easy to avoid the system of consortiums, as the clan’s companies had a capillary control over the territory. As the Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Committee explained: the areas of Teverola, Casaluce and Santa Maria La Fossa were assigned to Francesco Schiavone; Castel Volturno and the coast North of Naples to Walter Schiavone. Mario Iovine had the control on Aversa; Enzo de Falco managed the area of San Tammaro and the higher Matese, while Bidognetti had Cancello Arnone and Villaggio Coppola (Pac, 2001: 109).

Nevertheless, the most interesting feature here is probably the role of the Consortium as a book-keeper of the clan’s profits. Managed by an engineer GH, obviously recruited by the clan, the Consortium was able to extort bribes on each and every sale of cement, and could balance the members’ profits by forcing clients to purchase cement from specific companies. Through the control of the sale of cement, the Casalesi clan forced every company in the sector to finance the clan directly, thus managing to hold the reins of supply and demand, completely changing the rules of the market.

This infiltration into local government proves the shared interests that local administrators and Camorra clans had. This system was also clearly useful in attracting funds for the post-earthquake reconstruction programme. In the period between 1983 and 1991 the consortium sold as much as 819 billion Lire (approximately EUR 400 million), which was shared among the various building companies either connected to or entirely owned by Camorra clans (such as General BetonBa.Schi and Edil Moter). Through the colonisation of the cement industry, the Casalesi clan managed to become the main infrastructure builders in the region. Local clans controlled, among other things, the construction of the jail and the Tribunal in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, the bids for the maintenance of Regi Lagni[22], the through road Nola-Villa Literno, and the A1 motorway between Rome and Naples.

Figure 3 – The concrete cycle. The Cedic Consortium’s network (1983/1991)

Source: author’s own elaboration

The garbage cycle

The situation in the garbage industry draws many parallels to what we have seen in the cement sector. The governance model in the case of the garbage industry is based on three main principles: i) the principle of subsidiarity; ii) territorial management; iii) privatisation. First, with the exception of the normative and control functions, which remain in the hands of the State and the region, the planning and management of wasterelated the services are left to local authorities (Ficco, 2009). Second, the principle of territorial self-sufficiency is used for garbage disposal across the territory which coincides with portions of the metropolitan area or small local councils organised as consortiums. Third, these consortiums could contract private companies to deal with waste management and can buy services or associate with them to create public/private joint ventures partnerships. And it is in this interconnection between local councils and the interest of private companies that we find the infiltration of Camorra clans in local governance. In other words, these public and private partnerships become the place of collusion because Camorra-sponsored companies start partnerships with local government.

This model of governance has developed peculiar characteristics in Campania because of the long-lasting extraordinary measures (1994-2010), which have been used to govern the territory. Once the emergency situation was declared, local councils were allowed to waive the provisions of national law. Once again this created a void of institutional control usable by Camorra clans to infiltrate the system of consortiums and public/private companies.

In 1993, the regional administration divided the territory into 18 parts called Consorzi di bacino, which had to demonstrate to be self-sufficient in waste disposal[23]. Eco4 is a public/private partnership within Flora Ambiente (a company close to the clan) and the Consorzio di bacino Ce4 (a public consortium composed of 20 local councils, with a total population of 155.000)

Figure 4 – The system of governance in the waste sector (1993-2010)

Source: author’s own elaboration

Eco4 was the brainchild of the Orsi brothers from Casal di Principe, the home of the Casalesi clan. The brothers, previously in the building industry, became involved in the garbage business thanks to the help of the Camorra group, the Bidognetti clan and the administrators of a public consortium for waste management. Bidognetti—a group belonging to the wider Casalesi clan—offered their “military” support to control the territory and act as providers of contacts, resources, equipment and human resources (Naples Court, 2009a). The administrators of the public consortium, in turn, organised a bid in favour of the Orsi brothers. Two aspects are essential here to fully understand the establishment of a public/private partnership: the creation of a waste management monopoly and the design of a network for external support (see figure 4).

The creation of a monopoly requires first of all some kind of negotiation with the two governing bodies locally recognised: the local councils and Camorra bosses. As for the Councils, since the beginning Eco4 managed to convince as many as 18 out of 20 councils. The service was subcontracted without any bid, with repeated extensions of temporary subcontracts, or direct subcontracts lasting five or ten years. To get the local administrators’ approval, Eco4 hired staff designated by local politicians. As for the clan bosses, the Bidognetti’s clan offered their services as criminal mediators among the ruling clans in all municipalities where Eco4 operated. As a witness explained, the agreements stated that all clans in the various municipalities would be entitled to their share of bribe through the Bidognetti group, who acted as necessary mediator. This was a way to avoid any confusion between clans and to make sure the service ran smoothly without contrasts between different bosses of different areas (Naples Court, 2009: 299).

This allowed the clan to operate in areas controlled by other subordinate criminal organisations, with which the prices of the extortions were agreed. The “tax” was paid by cash or by jobs for the members of the clans.

Along with the creation of a monopoly, they ran the building of a support network of relations, made up of entrepreneurs, public officials, technicians, professionals, and politicians[24] (see Figure 5). As part of the garbage cycle there was first of all a group of entrepreneurs, somehow accomplices to the clans because of their contacts with them and their spokesmen for occasional or enduring business. There was then a long list of professionals, government commissaries, public officers and technical consultants. Public officers have a crucial role in controlling and granting certificates.

Figure 5 – The waste cycle. The Consorzio di Bacino Eco4 network (2000/2005)

Source: author’s own elaboration

Support by government Commissaries[25] and other controllers[26] consist of granting various authorisations, which legalised criminal business practices. Together with public officials, there were other professionals, acting as consultants in support of a great variety of anomalies: from fixed auctions to certification of inexistent credit; from the approval of fake sales to the issue of fake Antimafia certifications. The same system was used in this case as for the Board of Directors of shared capital companies, whose members were chosen by political parties, taking into account the respective vote share. From within the Board of Directors, politicians and local counsellors contributed to the management of expenses and the distribution of jobs. The on-going management of such an amount of resources allowed the building up of localised power groups, with followers strongly connected to the territory that then proved their stability over decades. The distribution of jobs was one of the main items of spending. Jobs favoured various subjects: the clans, as an income for their members or as all-purpose tool for the territories under their control; local administrators, in exchange for “no-competition” bids to the consortiums companies; to local parliament members who designate friends and relatives to increase their own electoral constituency in the imminence of elections[27].

Once the monopoly was created, profits grew exponentially and were based on the system of socialisation of losses and privatization of profits: all purchases were charged to the public partner (the local councils), while all profits went to the private partner (the Orsi brothers’ company and the Bidognetti clan). The most frequently used system consisted in inflating expenditures through the use of fake invoices for services, vehicles, equipment (trucks, utilities and services, inflated pay slips and purchase of consumables, such as the case of the recycled garbage bins invoiced as new). Another way of getting illegal profits was to subcontract private companies connected to the managers themselves or to mafia-connected companies active in the sector. Any business relation with these companies entailed inflated or fake invoices, fake rentals, non-existent repairs or maintenance, counterfeited reimbursements for fuel supply, up to personal expenses charged to the company (Naples Court, 2009b). Just to make a rough estimate of profits, taking into account only the traceable expenses, in 5 years Eco4 manages to charge nearly 40 million Euros to the accounts of the councils which belonged to the Consortium. But with the available data we can hardly try to make a realistic estimate of the whole business turnover: most of the activities involved are left out (overcharging, subcontracts, purchase of services, etc.). To those we need to add unlawful management of staff (inflated pay slips, non-existent personnel, etc.) and the huge profits generated by illegal management of garbage disposal areas (for example landfill of special and hazardous waste). This is actually the main source of hidden profits: special and hazardous garbage was certified as simple domestic waste by government technicians and commissaries (Naples Court, 2007).


This article presented a framework for analysing Camorra groups as “stakeholders” in local governance. The case of Casalesi clan reconstructed from documentary and judicial sources and from a series of interviews with observers and witnesses, was analysed.

Showing how the public construction industry and the waste management cycle work in Campania reveals how Camorra clans have managed to become a true stakeholder in the local governance. In both sectors, Camorra clans play an active role in the development of the territory by setting up consortiums and cooperating with local administration. What has been shown in this article, however, is that Camorra clans, whether directly involved or through “mafia-connected companies”, continue to be stakeholders “among others” (Le Galès, 1995; Bagnasco and Le Galès, 2000; Le Galès, 2002). They integrate into the local network of stakeholders and social groups with its own local rules and regulations which, whether explicit or implicit, lay out the distribution of resources (Le Galès, 1998). This mixed context, public/private, legal/illegal, designs the specific mechanisms necessary to coordinate all the different interests at stake (Donolo, 2005).

From this point of view, it is important to avoid looking at this question from a mafia only perspective, one where the mafia is seen as the all-encompassing element, with a synoptic rationality and an extreme self-conscious attitude.  This would be extremely deceptive as it does not take into account the plurality of stakeholders taking part in the creation of eco-mafia regulations in relation to the concrete and garbage cycles in Campania. It would also be a dangerous underestimation of the involvement of other actors and “external” support. In other words, to understand the role of the Camorra in the local governance we must analyse the external relations consolidated during the last decades. Observing external relations we must look beyond the mere organizational configuration of the clans, moving the focus to the illegal regulation of entire sectors of the local economy.

As shown by the networks of the two consortiums (see Figure 3 and Figure 5) Camorra rules evolve in close contact with a wide and varied network of relations. These networks reach and interact with local administrations across-the-board, reveal the political dimension of the power of mafias which co-exists with violence and a military control of the territory. In both cases we have seen that the Casalesi clan’s “Empire” is subdivided according to geographical areas and controlled by local bosses which can hardly be ignored by companies. This model of governance has had devastating effects on land development, with cement and garbage being the proper distinctive element of the geography of Naples’ urban metropolis.

Funding: Research material has been collected as part of two projects: for the construction industry,

“Camorra, mercati e imprese”, coordinated by prof. Luciano Brancaccio, University of Naples Federico II; for the waste sector, “Mafie, economia, sviluppo. Una ricerca sull’organizzazione economica della criminalità mafiosa”, coordinated by Rocco Sciarrone, University of Turin.


Amato F (2007) Dall’area metropolitana di Napoli alla Campania plurale. In Viganoni L.

(eds) Il Mezzogiorno delle città. Tra Europa e Mediterraneo. Milan: Franco Angeli.

Andretta M (2009) Da Campania Felix a discarica. Le trasformazioni in Terra di Lavoro dal dopoguerra ad oggi. Meridiana. Rivista di Studi Storici e Sociali, 64:87-120.

Anselmo M (2009) L’impero del calcestruzzo in Terra di Lavoro: le trame dell’economia criminale del Clan dei Casalesi. In Gribaudi G (eds) Traffici criminali. Camorra, mafie e reti internazionali dell’illegalità. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri.

Anselmo M and Braucci M (2008) Questa corte condanna. Spartacus, il processo al clan dei Casalesi. Napoli: l’Ancora del mediterraneo.

Bagnasco A and Le Galès P (eds) (2000) Cities in contemporary Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barbagallo F (1999) Il potere della Camorra (1793-1998). Turin: Einaudi.

Barbagallo F (2010) Storia della Camorra. Rome-Bari: Laterza.

Becchi A (1984) Napoli miliardaria. Economia e lavoro dopo il terremoto. Milan: Franco Angeli.

Becchi A (2000) Criminalità organizzata. Paradigmi e scenari delle organizzazioni mafiose in Italia. Rome: Donzelli

Bobbio L (2002) I governi locali nelle democrazie contemporanee. Roma-Bari: Laterza.

Brancaccio L (2009) Guerre di Camorra. I clan napoletani tra faide e scissioni. In Gribaudi G (eds) Traffici criminali. Camorra, mafie e reti internazionali dell’illegalità. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri.

Brancaccio L (2011) Magliari, imprenditori e camorristi. Il mercato del falso a Napoli. In Sciarrone R (eds) Alleanze nell’ombra. Mafie ed economie locali in Sicilia e nel Mezzogiorno. Rome: Donzelli.

Brancaccio L and Martone V (2014) L’espansione in un’area contigua. Le mafie nel basso Lazio. In Sciarrone R. Mafie del Nord. Strategie criminali e contesti locali. Rome: Donzelli.

Brandes U, Kenis P, Raab J, Schneider V. and Wagner D (1999) Explorations into the visualization of policy network. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 11(1): 75-106.

Burroni L, Piselli F, Ramella F and Trigilia C (2009) Città metropolitane e politiche urbane. Florence: Firenze University Press.

Capacchione R (2008) L’oro della Camorra. Milan: Rizzoli.

Catanzaro R (1983) Società, politica e cultura nel Mezzogiorno. Milan: Franco Angeli.

Catanzaro R, Piselli F, Ramella F and Trigilia C (2002) Comuni nuovi. Il cambiamento nei governi locali. Bologna: il Mulino.

Corona G and Sciarrone R (2012) Il paesaggio delle ecocamorre. Meridiana. Rivista di Studi Storici e Sociali, 73-4: 13-35.

De Lucia V and Frisch G (2008) Documento di indirizzi per il nuovo Ptc della Provincia di Caserta. Caserta: Micromedia.

Di Fiore G (2008) L’impero. Traffici, storie e segreti dell’occulta e potente mafia dei Casalesi. Milan: Rizzoli.

di Gennaro A (2009) Crisi dei rifiuti e governo del territorio in Campania, Meridiana. Rivista di Studi Storici e Sociali, 64: 71-87. di Gennaro A (2014) Per una storia dell’ecosistema metropolitano di Napoli. Meridiana. Rivista di Studi Storici e Sociali, 80: 105-124. di Gennaro A and Innamorato FP (2005) La grande trasformazione. Il territorio rurale della Campania 1960-2000. Naples: Clean.

di Lorenzo A and di Gennaro A (2008) Una campagna per il futuro. La strategia per lo spazio rurale nel piano territoriale della Campania. Napoli: Clean.

Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (Antimafia Police), Relazione del Ministro dell’Interno al Parlamento sull’attività svolta e sui risultati conseguiti dalla Dia, Secondo semestre, Ministero dell’Interno.

Donolo C (2005) Dalle politiche pubbliche alle pratiche sociali nella produzione di beni pubblici? Osservazioni su una nuova generazione di policies. Stato e Mercato, 73: 34-65.

Ficco P (2009) Gestire i Rifiuti. Analisi, approfondimenti, orientamenti operativi. Milan: Edizioni Ambiente.

Gaudin JP (2002) L’action publique. Sociologie et politique. Paris: Presses de Science Po.

Goodwin M and Painter J (1996) Local governance, the crises of Fordism and the changing geographies of regulation. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 21 (4): 635-648.

Gribaudi G (2008) Il ciclo vizioso dei rifiuti in Campania. Il Mulino, 1: 17-33.

Gribaudi G (eds) (2009) Traffici criminali. Camorra, mafie e reti internazionali dell’illegalità. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri.

Imposimato F, Pisauro G and Provvisionato S (1999) Corruzione ad alta velocità. Viaggio nel governo invisibile. Rome: Koinè.

Kooiman J (2003) Governance. A Social-Political Perspective. Grote R and Gbikpi B (eds) Participatory Governance. Political and Societal Implications. Opladen: Leske e Budrich.

Lamberti A (1985) Istituzioni e Camorra. La progettazione «criminale» dello sviluppo. Osservatorio sulla Camorra, 4/V, Fondazione Colasanto, Naples.

Lamberti A (2009) La Camorra come “metodo” e “sistema”. Gribaudi G. (eds), Traffici criminali. Camorra, mafie e reti internazionali dell’illegalità. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri.

Le Galès P (1998) La nuova political economy delle città e delle regioni. Stato e Mercato, 52: 53-91.

Le Galès P (2002) European Cities. Social Conflicts and Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Le Galès P(1995) Du gouvernement des villes à la gouvernance urbaine. Revue Française de Science Politique, 1: 57-95.

Legambiente (2007) Rapporto ecomafia. I numeri e le storie della criminalità ambientale. Milan: Edizioni Ambiente.

Martone V (2011) La Camorra nelle società miste. Gestione dei rifiuti e governo del territorio in provincia di Caserta. In Sciarrone R (eds) Alleanze nell’ombra. Mafie ed economie locali in Sicilia e nel Mezzogiorno. Rome: Donzelli.

Martone V (2012) Gestione dei rifiuti, partnership pubblico-privato e convitati di pietra. La Camorra come stakeholder nella governance del territorio. Meridiana. Rivista di storia e scienze sociali, 73-4: 103-132.

Massari M (2013), Guns in the Family. Mafia violence in Italy. Small Arms Survey (eds), Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 75-101.

Mayntz     R    (1996)     (1996)     Politische    Steuerung:     Aufstieg,     Niedergang    und Transformation einer Theorie. In Beyme K and Offe C (eds) Politische Theorien in der Ära der Transformation. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.

Monzini P (1999) Gruppi criminali e Napoli e a Marsiglia. La delinquenza organizzata nella storia di due città. Catanzaro: Meridiana Libri.

Naples Court (2007), Ordinanza Cautelare nei confronti di Andreozzi Salvatore e altri.

Naples Court (2009a). Ordinanza Cautelare nei confronti di Cosentino Nicola.

Naples Court (2009b). Ordinanza Cautelare nei confronti Cirillo Bernardo.

Nola Court (2003), Sentenza nei confronti di Barone Michele e altri. 

Pac (Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Committee) (1993), Mafia e politica. Relazione del 6 aprile 1993, Laterza, Roma-Bari.

Pac (Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Committee) (2001), Relazione conclusiva, XIII Legislatura.

Pac (Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Committee) (2008), Relazione conclusiva, XV Legislatura.

Palidda R (2011) Lungo le rotte dei camion. Criminalità organizzata e trasporti nella Sicilia orientale. In Sciarrone R (eds) Alleanze nell’ombra. Mafie ed economie locali in Sicilia e nel Mezzogiorno. Rome: Donzelli.

Parliamentary Committee for Waste Cycle (2006), Relazione territoriale sulla Campania, XIV Legislatura, doc. 23, n. 17, Roma.

Pezzino P (1990) Una certa reciprocità di favori. Mafia e modernizzazione violenta nella Sicilia postunitaria. Milan: Franco Angeli.

Rhodes RAW (1997) Understanding governance. Policy networks, governance, reflexivity and accountability. Buckingham, Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Richardson J (eds) (1982) Policy styles in western Europe. Boston: George Allen & Unwin.

Rossi Doria M (1982) Scritti sul Mezzogiorno. Turin: Einaudi.

Sales I (2006) Le strade della violenza. Malviventi e bande di Camorra a Napoli. Naples: l’Ancora del mediterraneo.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere Court (1986). Sentenza nei confronti di Alessandri Sergio + 200.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere Court (1996).  Sentenza a carico di Picca Aldo ed altri.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere Court (2006). Sentenza nei confronti di Abbate Antonio e altri 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere Court (2008). Ordinanza di custodia cautelare in carcere nei confronti di Ammutinato Michele e altri.

Santino U (1994) La mafia come soggetto politico. Ovvero: la produzione mafiosa della politica e la produzione politica della mafia. In Fiandaca G. e Costantino S. (eds) La mafia, le mafie. Rome-Bari: Laterza.

Sciarrone R (2006) Mafia e potere: processi di legittimazione e costruzione del consenso, Stato e mercato, 3: 369-402.

Sciarrone R (2009) Mafie vecchie, mafie nuove. Radicamento ed espansione. Rome: Donzelli.

Sciarrone R (2011) (eds), Alleanze nell’ombra. Mafie ed economie locali in Sicilia e nel Mezzogiorno. Rome: Donzelli.

Sommella R (2009) Le trasformazioni dello spazio napoletano: poteri illegali e territorio. In Gribaudi G (eds) Traffici criminali. Camorra, mafie e reti internazionali dell’illegalità. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri.

Stoker G (1998) Governance as theory: five propositions. International Social Science Journal, 50: 17-28.

Trigilia C (1994) Sviluppo senza autonomia. Effetti perversi delle politiche nel Mezzogiorno. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Weiss T (2000) Governance, good governance, global governance: actual challenges governance conceptual and actual challenges. Third World Quarterly, 21: 795-814.

[1] The term governance is often used with different meaning in different disciplines, which weakens its heuristic value (Rhodes, 1997; Gaudin, 2002; Kooiman, 2003). For this reason, this paper relies on the approaches that put the emphasis on the transition from government to governance, therefore expanding the number of actors involved in policy processes, which are referred to.

[2] In other words, we use governance as the way to manage power and policy for creating conditions for ordered rule and collective action (Stoker, 1998). Governance clearly embraces government institutions as an instrument to do so, but it also subsumed informal and non-governmental institutions operating within the public realm (Boas, 1998 quoted by Weiss, 2000). In the same vein, with “local governance” we mean the modes of governance at local level. In several European countries the local government system has been transformed into a more complex one of “local governance”, involving agencies drawn from the public, private and voluntary sector (Goodwin and Painter, 1996).

[3] The Italian Mafia known as the Camorra cannot be reduced to a single, unified criminal configuration; it refers to a wide array of criminal groups based in Naples and other cities in the Campania region, such as Caserta and Salerno (Massari, 2013: 76). In the areas surrounding Naples, clans are more tightly structured, tend to manage all illegal activities in their territory, and display a strong tendency towards reinvestment of their illegal profits in the legal market (Brancaccio, 2009). We restrict our analysis to the area in and around Caserta, that is managed by the so-called Casalesi clan, a cartel of clans that emerged in the late 1980s. This cartel has been heavily affected by major law enforcement operations and the arrest of several bosses following the so-called Spartacus maxi trial (see Anselmo and Braucci 2008). After Spartacus, however, the Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Committee (Pac) confirms the presence in the area of Caserta of the “diarchy” composed by Schiavone and Bidognetti clans (2008, p. 83), two of the most powerful clans which make up the cartel today (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia – Antimafia Police, 2009).

[4] Especially the Court in Santa Maria Capua Vetere is on the front line against the Casalesi Clan: it is in the hearth of the territory controlled by the Clan, in the province of Caserta between Naples and the Lazio region, to the north of the Campania region.

[5] According to the literature, the graphic representation can help to better explain the specific properties of the networks, and facilitates the exploration of the differences between them (Brandes et al., 1999).

[6] Since 1950 the Cassa del Mezzogiorno (Fund for the South) has been the «extraordinary intervention» carried out by the Italian government to intervene in order to stimulate economic growth and development in Southern Italy.

[7] It is known in Italy as Terremoto dell’Irpinia, a devastating earthquake that hit vast area of Southern Italy (Campania, Basilicata and Puglia regions). The earthquake had its epicentre in the region of Irpinia, an area largely coinciding with the Avellino province in the Campania region.

[8] Even though since the end of the 1950s, thanks to a new economic boom and lifestyle changes, the urbanisation curve had shot up.

[9] The so-called blocco agrario indicates the historical alliance between the Northern liberals and the Southern conservative rural interests. In the Italian nation-building process, this coalition was central to governmental stability of the Mezzogiorno.

[10] A study on the Province of Naples of 1986 states that, at that time, 80% of local councils had not approved any town planning regulation (di Gennaro, 2009).

[11] Started with Law 219/1981.

[12] Campania received about 800 million Euro a year just for the “ordinary” management of the extraordinary Commissary structure (salaries, purchase of vehicles, rent of buildings and land, excavations, and so on), for a total of more than 10 billion Euro in 14 years (see Parliament Commission on the waste cycle and related illegal activities, 2007).

[13] The most outstanding cases are represented by staff employed for the separate collection of recyclable waste (2300 units) and for the Consorzi di Bacino of Napoli and Caserta (about 2000 units), who were employed with the support of local elected politicians connected to Camorra clans (Martone, 2011).

[14] These are the most common features in the so-called “suburban Camorra”. According to the literature, the main distinction is between suburban Camorra and urban Camorra. The first one has

[15] Zagaria monopolises the building market in the area of Parma, starts important negotiations for the clan to participate in the bids for Alta Velocità (Hish Speed trains) and Ferrovia Alifana (Alifana Railway) (Imposimato, 1999), manages the distribution of Cirio and Parmalat products in the areas of Naples and Caserta, and starts a big building speculation in the centre of Milan (Capacchione, 2008).

[16] As many as 13 Local Councils of the area, among which Casal di Principe, were dissolved for contacts with the mafia when the new law comes into force. Until 2009 27 decrees dissolve as many Councils in the Province of Caserta. 3 more decrees add up in 2010 for irregularities in waste management (Mondragone, Castel Volturno and once again Casal di Principe).

[17] Such as Ernesto Bardellino, brother of the boss Antonio, Mayor of San Cipriano d’Aversa. More recently, Nicola Ferraro, in the waste business and connected to the Schiavones, elected regional counsellor within the Udeur party in 2005. After the regional elections in March 2010, Ferraro was arrested and accused of having an agreement with the clans Schiavone and Bidognetti for electoral support (See: “Casalesi and waste affaire: arrested the ex-regional counsellor Ferraro”, in Corriere del Mezzogiorno, 12.07.2010).

[18] Law n. n. 646 of 1950.

[19] Law n. 634 of 1957.

[20] Until the repression by the Italian Antitrust Authority, which abolished the consortium in 1992, 90% of construction companies in the Province adhered to this system (Anselmo and Braucci 2008).

[21] It is the definitive sentence following the 12-year so-called Spartacus maxi trial against the Casalesi clan (see Note 3).

[22] The Regi Lagni are a close network of channels crossing the plain North of Naples for over 56 km. They were built in 1610 by the Spanish viceroy Pedro Fernandez de Castro to prevent floods by convoying rain and spring water to the sea.

[23] Regional Law n. 10/1993. In 2008, because of their persistent malfunctions, the Consortiums were unified according to Provinces, to be definitely closed at the beginning of 2010. In May 2010 the Commission for Investigation on the Waste Cycle managed to unveil yet several more illegal malpractices

[24] In that case the network was set up using the Netminer software (vers. 3.4.1). Each unit of the network is an individual stakeholder, even though defined through the name of the company he owns or administers. We registered a connection between two of them when they participated to the same event (meetings, board of managers meetings, companies, telephone contacts etc.).

[25] During the 16 years of the garbage crisis, the Italian government appointed several Extraordinary Commissaries for the Waste Emergency. The power granted to the Commissaries enabled rapid decision-making but also created a lack of transparency which enabled the taking of many illegal decisions. This was certainly the case in the choice of landfill sites, which were based in mafia territory (Martone 2012).

[26] We mean the systems of controls of the waste cycle, performed by the ARPAC (Campania Regional Environmental Protection Agency, the ASL (Health Authority) and others professional and technicians who carry out the controls on waste cycle and landfills (such as doctors, environmental engineers etc.). Judicial investigations have revealed evidence of close links between the Camorra and these authorities at all levels (Legambiente, 2007: 8).

[27] These are magistrates’ accusations against the once Members of Parliament Mario Landolfi and Nicola Cosentino, who are, respectively, on trial and in jail.