Keywords: Welfare; Neopatrimonialism; Organised Crime; Political Class; Privatization.
The article analyses the relationship between «neopatrimonialism», welfare state services and organised crime groups. By focusing on four cases in the city of Naples, the study examines how specific electoral machines were set up by local politicians running a variety of profit or non-profit community based organizations aimed at providing support to people applying for social benefits. Two main aspects are taken into consideration: first, the personalization of the political process at the grassroots level and the increasing party fragmentation that tend to create particularistic networks linking political leaders to electoral constituencies at the neighbourhood level; second, the devolution and privatization of welfare state services. The latter have reshaped the organization and delivery of social benefits and services, thereby widening the room for intermediation between the public and the private sphere, and offering the camorra clans an opportunity to step in. These recent phenomena have turned «service centres» into a new location for exchanging service provision with political consensus at the community level.