So I finally made it back to school, a place where I can write my blog posts at random intervals of the day. (I really excited about this ) However, the return to school means the return of coursework. I am finally writing my senior thesis paper this semester and that means the work starts… well now. As you know I have been doing research to gain a better understanding of the Mafia and the Italian american culture. Needless to say this research will continue throughout this project. However, realistically writing a history essay based on secondary sources will not happen. So hopefully by writing out this blog post I can gain a better understanding of the questions I want answered and the methods I will use to answer them.
I guess the one question that keeps resurfacing over and over again as I do research is why did the US become so obsessed with the idea of the Mafia and Organized Crime? It seems strange that they became so popular since they made money off of what was illegal. (And still do!) However, it also makes sense because many people opposed prohibition to begin with so if they could defy the system, they did. When prohibition ended and the Depression came in full force, the memories off bootlegged alcohol and speakeasies still lingered. A memory of better times perhaps? So Hollywood began making movies about the Mafia in the 30′s and well…. it turned into a pop-culture phenomenon. This is all speculation from reading up on secondary material. I think to really look into the mind set of the time I would have to, not just watch a couple of movies. But branch out into newspapers, magazines, books, and anything else which might provide a personal opinion about the Mafia.
However that is a lot to cover in a semester, I cannot feasibly look through every article in every newspaper ever published. (However, if I had a time turner…..)So I was thinking about looking at 2 national Newspapers at least. Magazines are a little easier however I am not sure how much easier. For magazines I think I will focus on the educationalish/political ones such as Time and National Geographic. (Mostly because I am curious to see what they have written) Books… well are prob the easiest to find. I already stumbled across a few which I can use as a primary source. (Herburt Asbury) However, books are also difficult because in some cases I can use them as a secondary source. Actually the same might even go for magazines…. I think this means I will be taking a couple of trips to the Library of Congress, I mean it is there I might as well use it. =D
However, the 30′s itself is an interesting time because of everything that happened. It is interesting to look at how people coped during difficult times. (kinda like now ) I think the US (and probably other cultures) has always harbored a fascination for what is unlawful (Wyatt Earp?) or criminal. However just as the Wild West became America’s symbol for expansion, one has to wonder what the Mafia was the symbol. Maybe I can answer that
Like I said this is just a rough sketch of what my proposal will be, I just wanted to get ideas written and to begin actually thinking more about what my paper will be about. To begin to tie up the loose ends basically.