In Against Security: How We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways, and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger (Princeton University Press), NYU sociologist Harvey Molotch surveys different places in our post-9/11 world and asks if we feel safer.
Against Security posits that our anxieties about public safety have translated into command-and-control procedures that both annoy and intimidate—and which are often counterproductive. Molotch considers everything from public toilets to subways and airports to the reconstruction of Ground Zero. He also explores the New Orleans water projects that precipitated the Hurricane Katrina flood and the disaster response.
But, in his critique, Molotch also offers ways of maintaining security that may also improve our quality of life—but writes that doing so would require changing both policies and attitudes as well as redesigning equipment.
Molotch’s previous works include: Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come to Be as They Are; Toilet: The Public Restroom and the Politics of Sharing, co-edited with Laura Noren; and, with John Logan, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place.