144 – Innovative partnerships for the utilisation of confiscated assets previously owned by mafias


Purpose The third sector is a producer of trust and positive social interactions, the mafias destroy trust and social norms. To confiscate assets and the reuse of confiscated assets are important tools from an economic and symbolic point of view for contrasting mafias and promoting sustainable and fair economy. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the role of the third sector in the reuse of confiscated assets.

Design/methodology/&approach The paper is based on a theoretical analysis of the reasons for a third sector role in the reuse of confiscated assets, focusing on the economic, social and cultural dimensions. Italian legislation and data are presented for the relevant and innovative role of third sector in the reuse of the confiscated assets. A case study is presented about the city of Forlì, of particular interest because based in Northern Italy, a part of the country of non historical presence of mafias and also because the University of Bologna is now a partner of the project through the Observatory of the Legality. Five hectares of confiscated, urban land have been given to two social cooperatives for organic agriculture and social gardening, managed by the disadvantaged people working in the cooperatives.

Findings The case study offers useful implications for other national and international situations. The results support that third sector can be an effective partner in managing and restoring the goods to their community.

Original/values Scaling up form a pioneering activity to a large scale network of social enterprises and partnerships could make the difference.

KEY WORDS: third sector, confiscated assets, mafia, partnership, social enterprise.

TYPE: case study