Rituals and Civil Imagery in the Antimafia Movement
After the massacres of 1992-1993, the figure of the innocent victim of the mafia was granted, through the creation of a historical narrative, an important status within the collective imaginaire, in which a sacral symbolism was created around the now anti-mafia martyrs. These individuals thus became part of the Italian cult of the (secular) dead, where untouchable objects of popular devotion manifest a resurgence of civic religion without its being antagonistic to Catholicism. The innocent mafia victim belongs to a symbolic universe adjacent to the figure of the patriot/hero/martyr. It enters the same heritage of places, memories and testimonies that renews a long-term civic culture, powered by a collective imagination based on the redemption of fatherland. The anti-mafia movement encourages the defence of republican values reproducing Resistance ideals, and which reflect the stereotype of the “Risorgimento canon”. The collective ritual is a historical guarantee: it sanctifies victims, revealing the existence of a “land of heroes”: a Pantheon of women and men who oppose their material sacrifice to “the death of the Fatherland”.