GIOVENTU » Italian student seeks crowdfunding for PHD research on the Camorra

Italian student seeks crowdfunding for PHD research on the Camorra

Crowdfunding might be needed to shed new light on organised crime in Italy.
As it has been reported by the Agence France Presse (AFP), an Italian student appealed for the public to crowdfund his PhD research on the criminal organization known as the Camorra. 


Mario Trifuoggi, a 29-year-old from Naples, in 2013 won a PhD for his project, “Le quattro giornate di Napoli – Reloaded”, an enquiry on the lands contended between the Italian state and the Camorra. 


Mario Trifuoggi initially had a full scholarship to complete his PhD at the University of Trento in Northern Italy but after his supervisors opposed his methodology, he enrolled at Goldsmiths University in London. In his  fully-funded PhD programme in Trento his academic supervisors, a married couple, wouldn't let him carry out his research on the Camorra in his hometown Naples, so he turned to the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to fund his project.

He is hoping to raise £22,000 (29,700 euro) in order to study at Goldsmiths University along with others working in the field.

So far, in 24 days, Trifuoggi's page has raised £2,093, mainly from Italians from the south and academics, committed to freedom in research, who wish to support his anti-mafia efforts.


Trifuoggi grew up in an area of Naples dominated by the powerful Camorra and  thinks that there is a grey area between being victims and being in complicity with the the Mafia. In his opinion to study this area could be the key to tackle the problem.

In particular he would like to understand how compliance with the mafia is perpetuated, researching the effects of organised crime on everyday life in southern Italy. Trifuoggi reportedly said that Naples is run by around 20 mafia clans with a precarious equilibrium between them and that as a teenager, safety was guaranteed by the neighbourhood clan rather than by the police or the state.


During his PhD, Trifuoggi wants to spend a year in Naples collecting oral interviews and writing field reports from Camorra controlled districts, like the one he grew up in, to identify the factors that lead communities either into compliance with the Camorra or into collective action against it. He wants to make an original contribution in showing how the social aspect of the mafia works, and demonstrate how resources and people can be mobilized. 


Trifuoggi argues that collective action is central to the fight against organized crime across Italy today, and highlights the role that movements such as “confiscated goods” can play. In this case state-seized Camorra properties and equipment are used to set up new companies and help to change the attitudes of the younger generations towards the Camorra.


If Mario will be given this opportunity to develop this project he is sure that his research can be used by others in the ongoing fight against organized crime.

Giulia Lombardo

»Back to: GIOVENTU