Secular Saints and Civil Apostles in the Deep South: the Premises of Antimafia Hagiografy
A trend of Southernist (meridionalista) inspiration can be identified at the forefront of the hagiographic narrative promoted by the antimafia movement, alongside the narratives generated by the workers’ and peasant movements in relation to the cult of the remembrance of the victims. Endowing key antimafia figures of some exemplary Southern stories with heroism is one characteristic of such trend. This paper aims to trace the origins and development of a so-clalled anti-mafia “holiness”. This will be done by drawing, on the one hand, on the tradition of peasant mobilization in the post-war period, with particular reference to Sicilian trade unionists Accursio Miraglia, Placido Rizzotto and Salvatore Carnevale, who were murdered by the mafia between 1947 and 1955. On the other hand, it will draw on a specific line of civic and democratic engagement which has its roots in the Risorgimento and which was embodied by engagés intellectuals such as Umberto Zanotti Bianco, Rocco Scotellaro e Danilo Dolci.