eli5: what is the mafia?

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eli5: what is the mafia?

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It’s somewhat dependent on the context of the specific country you’re asking about, but mafias are criminal organizations involved in organized crime. Without context, *the* Mafia would either be the Sicilian Mafia (in Italy), or the Italian Mafia (in the United States), which are closely related to each other but which are functionally separate things.

A criminal organisation which relies upon loyalty and often family ties to protect the leadership being tied to the criminal activities.

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The Mafia refers to organized crime, typically Sicilian Italians and their American descendants (Italian Mafia).

Similar organizations include the Irish Mob, Japanese Yakuza, Chinese Tongs, or Biker gangs like the Hells Angels.

Criminal organizations that centralize the management of crime and run it like a business, with profits moving upstream to the bosses. Criminals and victims are kept in line by the threat of violence.