«Each culture has its own taboos; kidnapping is a taboo for Sardinian culture. This book challenges the traditional portrayal of kidnapping as a crime. If the kidnapping in Sardinia, and perhaps in some other areas of southern Italy, is a social fact, then we need to reconsider the traditional approach to kidnapping. That leads to a new image of kidnappers and kidnappees (abductees) at the same time dominated and advocates of a culture that can be removed but not denied.
Changing the social perception of kidnapping means changing the social perception of deviation. Attempting to do so immediately raises the familiar accusations of sociologism and psychologism. The book contradicts these accusations and provides those who want to overcome the barriers of common sense knowledge with a précis of the main methodological concepts of the social sciences.» IT
(Il sequestro come fatto sociale [The kidnapping as a social fact], Back cover)
Il sequestro come fatto sociale
[The Kidnapping as a Social fact]
[The Kidnapping as a Social fact]
1. Le reazioni al sequestro e la percezione sociale del comportamento deviante
[Reactions to kidnapping and the social perception of deviant behavior]
2. Il sequestro con riferimento al paradigma prescrittivo e al paradigma esplicativo
[The kidnapping in the prescriptive paradigm and explicative paradigm]
3. Il sequestro come sanzione sociale (contrappasso) contro la violazione dell’equilibrio egualitario
[The kidnapping as a social punishment (retaliation) against the breach of egalitarian equilibrium]
4. Forme di deviamento e modalità di prevenzione del deviamento sociale
[Forms of deviation and measures for preventing social deviation]
5. La legge 15 marzo 1991 n. 82 sul blocco dei beni del sequestrato
[The law no. 82 (March 15, 1991) on freezing of the kidnappee’s assets]
6. Il sequestro e il problema del cambiamento delle culture
[The kidnapping and the issue of cultural change]
Note al testo
Nota sul coinvolgimento positivo e negativo degli interessi
[Note on the positive and the negative involvement of interests]
Nota sulla punizione
[Note on punishment]
Beccaria C., Dei delitti e delle pene, 1764
Blackman, Condizionamento operante, Zanichelli, Bologna, 1977
Bolacchi G., Metodologia delle scienze sociali, Edizioni Ricerche, Roma, 1963
Bolacchi G., Teoria delle classi sociali, Edizioni Ricerche, Roma, 1963
Bolacchi G., La struttura del potere, Edizioni Ricerche, Roma, 1964
Bolacchi G., Il problema del metodo nella sociologia, in: Studi di economia, vol. V, 1972
Bolacchi G., Concorrenza, collettivismo e pianificazione, in: Studi di Economia, vol. V, 1973, n.3
Bolacchi G., Prefazione a B.F. Skinner, La scienza del comportamento ovvero il Behaviorismo, Sugar, Milano, 1974
Bolacchi G., Processo di apprendimento e strutture ideologiche, in: Studi di Economia, vol. V, 1974, n.1
Bolacchi G., Un’autonomia in regime di dipendenza, in P. Savona (a cura di), Per un’altra Sardegna, F. Angeli, Milano, 1984
Bolacchi G., Le scatole vuote della sociologia, in J. Jacobelli (a cura di), Dove va la sociologia italiana?, Laterza, Bari, 1988
Bolacchi G., Sabattini G., Zona di produzione franca: una proposta per la Sardegna, F. Angeli, Milano, 1984
Bolacchi G., Sabattini G., Usai T., Oligopolio e crescita economica, F. Angeli, Milano, 1985
Buchanan J.M., What should economists do, in: The Southern Economic Journal, vol. XXX, 3, 1964
Casula F.C., La terza via della storia. Il caso Italia, Edizioni ETS, Pisa, 1997
Ferrajoli L., Diritto e ragione. Teoria del garantismo penale, Laterza, bari, 1989
Kelsen H., Società e natura, Einaudi, Torino, 1953
Monod J., Il caso e la necessità, Mondadori, Milano, 1970
Morris C., Segni, linguaggio e comportamento, Longanesi, Milano, 1977
Neisser U., Conoscenza e realtà, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1981
Pareto V., Compendio di sociologia generale (a cura di G. Farina), Barbera, Firenze, 1920
Parsons T., La struttura dell’azione sociale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1962
Pessotti I., Introduzione allo studio del comportamento operante, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1970
Rachlin H., Behavior and Mind. The roots of modern psychology, Oxford University Press, New York, 1994
Skinner B.F., Il comportamento verbale, Armando, Roma, 1976
Skinner B.F., Scienza e comportamento, F. Angeli, Milano, 1978
Staddon J.E.R., Behaviorism. Mind, Mechanism and Society, Duckworth, London, 1993
Tagliagambe S., Il sequestro dell’identità, CUEC, Cagliari, 1997
1/40«When social ethics is controlled by an interpersonal sanctioning system, shared in a a direct or indirect (mediate) way, it becomes a legal norm. The latter acquires a generalized compulsory characterization only when adopted by the state, i.e., by a legal order that, in principle, cannot be opposed or denied by another legal order which is itself a state; thereby, the norm is institutionalized.» IT
2/40«The fundamental property of the legal norm is not its institutionalization. It is the legitimation of the norm by an organized structure to which all the individuals belonging to a culturally defined social group delegate (with greater or lesser guarantees, or even with no guarantees) specific duties concerning those interpersonal relations which involve, in principle, all individuals (otherwise called collective interests).» IT
3/40«Non-institutionalized legal norms legitimized within a given social group constitute a non-state legal order. The latter can manifest weaker or stronger autonomy claims (to the point of pretending to be a state), depending on the lesser or greater importance that all individuals attach to the positively involved (collective) interests legitimizing the normative system, i.e., to the lesser or greater importance they attribute to their own culture.
Therefore, there may be different types of non-institutionalized legal norms, which can have diverse characteristics. These norms can be compatible or clashing with the state norms, which means that the social legitimation of a norm may or may not coincide with the state legitimation of that norm (i.e., its institutionalization).» IT
4/40«When a potentially deviant sub-state culture crosses the boundaries of the pre-institutional social space to give rise to an actual deviation, the level of social acceptance is very high. In such a case, the social group expressing the subculture shall not sacrifice the positively involved interests characterizing it (and underpinning its normative system) in favor of the state culture and the corresponding institutionalized norms.
Social facts of this type usually are undervalued by the hegemonic state culture, which tends to minimize the deviation, always considering it as a single deviation, according to a restrictive interpretation in line with the normative-punitive paradigm. It is a mistake that arises from explaining social facts in commonsense terms.» IT
5/40«If the consideration of social facts were based on a scientific explication of social facts, state intervention should be oriented in radically different terms, namely, towards eliminating or changing the causes of the deviation (with appropriate, joint socio-cultural and economic intervention policies) rather than punishing the effects of the deviation.» IT
6/40«Besides emotional situations, a sense of insecurity and lack of confidence, and escape or defensive behaviors, the deviation can also generate or express relations of positive involvement between interests referred to more or less large social groups. In these cases, deviation becomes a social fact.
Any deviant behavior, carried out by individuals or more or less circumscribed groups, becomes a social fact when it generates or expresses collective interests in support of the deviation or, given such support, when it generates or expresses collective interests in conflict with the deviation. A deviation carried out by a more or less large group of subjects is not, for this reason alone, a social fact. It becomes a social fact when a social group, other than the deviant one, does support the deviation; here, there may also be another contrasting group that opposes the social group supporting the deviation.» IT
7/40«Social facts must be defined with reference to the relations between the institutionalized legal order and the social order. That said, the legal order and the social order may be compatible with each other or not.
In both cases, there may be different degrees of compatibility (or incompatibility), which determine the extent of cooperation (positive involvement) or conflict (negative involvement) between the two orders; compatibility and incompatibility must be defined through concepts (terms) belonging to the language of the scientific sociology and not commonsense concepts, of course.» IT
8/40«The deviation is a social fact not because of the number of deviants or the typology that characterizes it. The deviation is a social fact whenever groups of individuals other than the deviants emerge (or exist) in the social context, expressing subcultures in support of deviants. These groups do not realize actual deviations (which are realized by the deviants) but rather carry out forms of deviant power (by using their public roles in favor of deviants) or, in more general terms, potential deviation against the institutionalized context to which they belong (based on an immediate positive involvement).» IT
9/40«When a subculture in support to deviation exists (and the code of silence, where widespread, is an important social indicator of it), institutionalized prevention-oriented regulatory action is unlikely to achieve generalized deterrent effects, and it is equally unlikely that the announced punishment will have deterrent effects.» IT
10/40«The normative schema (static, by definition) unifies and standardizes all types of deviations, differentiating them only in terms of penalty measures (amount of punishment) to inflict. Instead, all deviations are profoundly different from each other (even those belonging to the same typology, as with kidnapping) because they depend on non-comparable social and psychological contexts.
Understanding the social variables of each specific deviation is indispensable to control the deviation not only through criminal and punitive measures and to eliminate the deviation through the elimination of its actual causes. It is indispensable not to delude oneself into eliminating the deviation by operating within simple formalistic homogenizations of a punitive type.» IT
11/40«Social facts involve everyone because each individual is a product of those facts. They involve everyone because attitudes and propensities may persist in each individual's personality, although difficult to perceive, which are residual aspects of an endogenous culture marginalized by the stratification of successive cultures but still present to some extent in the social environment.» IT
12/40«Kidnapping is a type of deviant behavior that, due to its structural characteristics, needs generalized and continuous support during the entire implementation process. That is especially true when the kidnapping takes place in environments and groups where social interactions commonly involve, albeit in different times and spaces, the community at large. [...]
It does not mean that all individuals are accomplices of the kidnappers. It just means that larger social groups tend not to see and not to hear because they have internalized the code of silence (omertà) aimed at safeguarding the endogenous cultural identity, and the principles of its ethics, from behavioral models imposed from outside (from the state). The code of silence is seen not as a harmful fact for the community, but as a behavior due to the community, aimed at preserving its values and image against the exogenous cultures questioning them.» IT
13/40«In its most abstract form, a society founded on the principle of retaliation regulates all relations between individuals in terms of conformity or non-conformity with the static equilibrium, which is identified in the tendency to preserve a traditionally defined social context. Any alteration of this context, either in terms of wealth imbalance between individuals or imbalance in social interactions, must be recomposed by administering to the individual who breaches the norm a penalty equal and contrary (antithetical) to the violation.» IT
14/40«Both the evolutionary social dynamics (i.e., the historical dynamics) and the structural social dynamics develop within the pre-institutional social space through continuous increasing or decreasing of the groups of individuals who recognize their interests within one or the other of the two sets of positively involved interests: institutionalized interests and opposed potentially deviant interests.» IT
15/40«If the positive involvement occurs between high intensity-level deviant interests (e.g., when a social group is quite sensitive to criteria of equity or distributive justice defined according to the cultural paradigms typical of that group), if the institutionalized interests defined by the power élite do not change according to the social needs emerging from the pre-institutional space, and if the deviant interests have a broad (or a very broad) base of acceptance, then maybe that potential deviation transcends the boundaries of the pre-institutional space and turns into actual deviation, which results in behaviors in open conflict with institutionalized interests. Here, the institutionalized sanctioning power is no longer effective against deviant interests.» IT
16/40«The state can satisfy the public interest in the prevention of deviation in four ways, two of which are direct and two indirect:
1. by carrying out operational sequences aimed at modifying the social context within which deviant behavior is learned;
2. by carrying out operational sequences aimed at protecting the subjects against whom deviant behaviors may be directed;
3. by carrying out operational sequences of a purely punitive type;
4. by carrying out operational sequences achieving a generalized deterrent effect via the implementation of punishment as subtraction (or impediment to the acquisition) of an advantage (resource), not as administration of a sanction.» IT
17/40«The elimination of conflict by the power and resultant penal norm is not a real elimination; it cannot be deemed equivalent to a change in culture, but rather to a semblance of change, an illusion deriving from common sense, which considers punishment to be the sole means to change behaviors. The punitive approach does not change the personality of individuals; much less does it change cultures or social behaviors.» IT
18/40«Conflicts between diverse cultures are not and cannot be overcome only through the instruments of power (especially criminal law). Only a conflict between the state and single deviations, at most, could be (badly) resolved through the criminal law. However, when the deviation is deeply rooted in the social context, it would be better to ask why the deviation is such only for the state and not also for the endogenous culture.» IT
19/40«The generalized deterrent effect of punishment can tend to zero if what the state considers deviant behavior is deeply rooted in a culture that expresses a set of interests negatively involved with the institutionalized interests. In this case, the behavior is legitimate for the non-institutionalized (endogenous) culture, albeit deviant for the institutionalized culture. In contrast, the state-protected interest is considered unlawful by the endogenous culture.» IT
20/40«In establishing an abstract norm, the legislature presupposes, by definition, the formal equality of social contexts. Namely, the legislature assumes for reasons of power that the whole (Italian) society is characterized by an indisputable cultural uniformity, imposed as the only reference paradigm in the interpretation and implementation of the norm.
Perhaps this happens in a large number of cases, but the federalist and separatist claims do not seem to confirm that fact.» IT
21/40«Kidnapping for ransom is a crime that puts the consistency of the founding principles of criminal law to the test. Given that every penal norm must rest on some public interest (i.e., an interest recognized and embraced by each individual who belongs to a specific state community), what public interest is sacrificed in the event of a kidnapping?
If the latter did not entail the “kidnapee-against-ransom” negotiation, there would be no problem: kidnapping would be a fully-fledged crime against the person. However, given that the kidnapping entails the release of the kidnapee upon the ransom payment, the crime’s object is not the person but the property; the deprivation of personal liberty to the detriment of the kidnapee (the hostage) is only a means for kidnappers to get an economic advantage.» IT
22/40«The penal norm is of limited usefulness within a culture with no social deviation but only single deviations (given the uncertain relevance of the punishment in case of high intensity-level deviant interests). The penal norm is useless when one tries to enforce it within a culture heterogeneous to it, where the norm is used against social deviation.» IT
23/40«It is difficult to bring about changes in cultures by intervening through exogenous variables which are not of a normative-punitive type, especially when the political order is pluralistic and democratic. Here, the political class tends to adjust to the interests belonging to the basis of consent (consensus basis), excluding any intervention that could change existing social situations from the inventory of public interests.» IT
24/40«In short, both social preconditions and economic preconditions for development were lacking. More to the point, a misrepresented choice was made, expressing a form of deviant power typical of the political class. The latter set its consent maximization, instead of the economic (and social) development, as its goal, thereby subordinating the effectiveness of public interventions to its persistence in exercising power.
In pluralistic systems (given the weak conditioning force of ideologies), many forms of deviant power by the political class tend to resort to public welfarist interventions.» IT
25/40«The crisis that hit the industrial sites in recent decades has worsened an already precarious situation, resulting in a strongly weakened industrial market culture. From the beginning, the severe dysfunctions of the political organization in terms of deviant power have spoiled the latter. Moreover, it could not be expected to superimpose the new industrialism on the endogenous culture, sic et simpliciter, without trying to change the latter contextually.
The result has been the industry crisis on the one hand and the endemic crisis of the agropastoral sector on the other; besides, the endogenous culture has not changed in front of these crises. This situation has led to severe consequences in the social context, which find in the malaise of large regional areas (i.e., in the potential or actual deviation generalized in those areas), one of the most relevant expressions.» IT
26/40«From the naïve but generalized commonsense perspective, all social issues related to deviation are exclusively criminal matters; it necessarily follows the broad role of the judiciary and magistracy. Many are today surprised by the near-total absence of boundaries for such a role. Indeed, it is only the consequence of a premise that almost everyone accepts: behavior can only be good or bad, lawful or unlawful.
As a matter of fact, humans' direct experience contributes to establishing easy-to-understand reference points. Separating good from evil is the most essential and rewarding thing to do because it would make it possible to put order into a world that appears very disordered, and people always perceive deviation as a disorder.» IT
27/40«Alas, it has not yet been understood that it is not that every social phenomenon comes out of nowhere as if it were an extemporaneous manifestation of isolated personalities. It has not yet been understood that every social phenomenon is the effect of causes we must seek in the interaction processes. In short, every human behavior is the direct or indirect effect of social variables that determine it, namely, other coexisting behaviors with which it interacts.
That every human is a sort of monad, free in its choices and judgments, able to answer to nobody but itself, its conscience, or some transcendent reality representing its reference point and goal, is a very reassuring and engaging metaphysical notion. However, it is too simplistic and completely lacking in explicative capacity. It explains nothing yet comforts everyone, because it shifts the problem from a search for causes to an alleged elimination of effects.» IT
28/40«The process of national unification that has forcibly superimposed a hegemonic regional culture on a multiplicity of other cultures, also regional but less innovative, has always been set in repressive and punitive terms and has always tried to impose a unification between radically different social contexts, primary through precisely that juridical formalism which can be seen as the arrival point of a unification process, but never as a starting point or a means to achieve any unification.» IT
29/40«Cultural relativism is one of the most typical aspects representing today’s society. Faced with the plurality of attitudes and values that diversify social groups and specify their generalized models of behavior and organization, one should look at the problem of amalgamating or assimilating the various systems of social interaction from a perspective of mutual respect. The latter is, ultimately, the perspective on which the very concept of autonomy rests.
Respect for the various cultures finds an insuperable boundary: the need for amalgamation or assimilation. If the Sardinian endogenous social order were assimilated into the state culture, it would perforce have to be modified. If it were modified, somehow, it would be destroyed. Is it acceptable to destroy an endogenous social order without the generalized awareness of the social groups that internalize and express it? How could this awareness be attained?» IT
30/40«The unspoken dogma underlying the prescriptive paradigm and the very concept of legal norm, in its punitive acceptation, is to consider conflict as an ineliminable characteristic of human interaction, both on the knowledge level and the social level.
The dogma of punishment follows from the dogma of conflict. It finds in (natural and positive) law an ennobling framework, to which one usually refers when dealing with the problem of order. The latter was addressed by Hobbes, who solved it most radically by postulating the Leviathan, and Parsons, who attempted to solve it in functionalist terms.» IT
31/40«Institutionalized power becomes deviant power when it is used to obtain the persistence of a given political class, namely when the latter uses it to make its basis of consent static (on the structural level) and stationary (on the evolutionary level).» IT
32/40«The past history, here considered with reference to the structural dynamics (hence, as a parameter) and not to the evolutionary dynamics, has been characterized not only by the persisting negative involvement between the interests of the endogenous culture and the interests of the exogenous state cultures (grounded on power) but also by the coexisting attitude to total acquiescence towards external domination exhibited by the local élites. The past history has also been characterized by the fact that the endogenous culture has never been able to express innovatively any normative state-type system manifesting an autonomous organizational capacity of the social context; it only expressed primitive forms of organization, which never went beyond the narrow confines of the extended family and clan.
Given such a situation, characterized, among other things, by a tendency toward social and economic stationariness, the endogenous society could only reaffirm in anomalous and hidden forms its egalitarian values and try to realize them.» IT
33/40«The statehood of any culture is expressed not only by its organizational form but also by the principle of legitimacy underlying the organizational form being truly endogenous, namely, by the basis of consent related to the political élite identifying with the endogenous culture the élite expresses. If this does not happen, one can observe a form or semblance of a state, not a state properly speaking, because the reference points of such an organization differ from those compatible with the endogenous culture in terms of both contents and the proposed normative model.» IT
34/40«Indeed, if a system institutionalizes some socializing ethics, it must give (for the sake of consistency) a social and economic role to each individual. That is not usually the case, as the legitimized (or institutionalized) forms of acquiring roles in the social context do not guarantee equal conditions among all individuals, given the inequality in resource distribution determined by the proprietary system and the accumulation dynamics in the market system.
For the purpose of a not strictly punitive control of deviation, usually, the groups that base their institutionalized socializing ethics on social and economic roles (with particular reference to private property and the market) institutionalize the principles of individualizing ethics, too, aimed at attributing an intrinsic value to each individual. This attribution leads to inconsistencies and contradictions, particularly relevant in the kidnapping case.» IT
35/40«The attempt to rewrite history (Sardinian and Italian history) based on a formalistic-juridical notion of state realizes an arbitrary separation, a split between state-form and state-culture. In Sardinia, the state form has never been related to an endogenous state culture but always to exogenous state cultures. For this reason, the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1324 and, more recently, the Kingdom of Italy did not express evolutionary stages of the same state; instead, they connoted radically different state cultures and, therefore, different states.
The evolutionary stages of a state form do not always go along with the corresponding evolutionary stages of the state culture. It may happen, on the contrary, that an original state form becomes related to some different and new state culture. In that event, the state (meant as the contextual expression of a state form and a state culture) changes.» IT
36/40«The modification of interests (and the modification of the relations between interests) expresses the changes legitimated within the social context that make a dynamic equilibrium. When these changes are not allowed, the equilibrium is static (it can be altered by the deviation and recomposed by the punishment). The legal norm and the principle of retaliation, by definition, presuppose a static equilibrium (which the interpretation of the law attempts to adapt to social dynamics).» IT
37/40«Punishment takes on different connotations and produces different effects, depending on the paradigm of reference according to which it is implemented. In principle, it could be instrumental to retaliation, social control, or educational objectives. However, that the punishment is taken into consideration (and administered) without an explicitly determined paradigm of reference does not mean that such a reference paradigm is not logically presupposed, albeit latently; otherwise, one could not even speak of punishment. It means, instead, that retaliation, social control, and education objectives are undifferentiated. The reason is that the principle of retaliation (as transposed into the legal norm, particularly the criminal law) is usually assumed as the sole paradigm of reference for punishment (and the sole objective to which punishment can be instrumental).» IT
38/40«Rehabilitation has very high social costs compared to the benefits it brings. For this reason, deprivation of personal freedom can be accepted, even leaving aside the rehabilitation, not as a punishment but simply as a prevention and social protection measure related to a behavior’s pathology resulting from an anomalous socialization process; but this requires renouncing to interpret punishment through the principle of retaliation.» IT
39/40«If the deviation is associated with rehabilitation, then the punishment must be interpreted and used in a framework of social control and not retaliation. In this regard, the antinomy of punishment suffers from the confusion between retaliation and social control.
It is difficult to change an established situation, although the debates on punishment and punishment-related rehabilitation (despite the conceptual misunderstanding they suffer) show a gradual weakening of the ideology of retaliation on the cultural (historical) level (a weakening that cannot be fully expressed from Kelsen’s formalistic perspective). However, punishment and rehabilitation are mutually exclusive concepts, as they postulate incompatible reference frameworks.» IT
40/40«The lack of a deterrent effect shows that punishment has not worked as an independent variable for interrupting the deviant instrumental behavior and, with a very high probability, will not work in the future under equivalent situations.
From this perspective, given that the behavioristic relevance of the punishment is not the expiation but the interruption of the instrumental operants that realize deviation, the operativeness of punishment in relation to deviation is nil. However, although useless for the deviant, administering the punishment is useful to give real meaning to the announced punishment, namely to prevent future deviations by individuals with potential attitudes towards deviation compared to those of the actual deviant.» IT