Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Security in urban transport a matter of perceptions

06.12.2011
Is current urban transport security policy motivated by crime and accident statistics, or are other factors in play?

This is a question raised by the political scientist Ola Svenonius in his dissertation on security and surveillance in urban transport. He sees radical changes in attitudes in Berlin, Stockholm, and Warsaw.

On December 16, Ola Svenonius will publicly defend his doctoral dissertation in political science, Sensitising Urban Transport Security. Surveillance and Policing in Berlin, Stockholm, and Warsaw.

The dissertation shows how security in urban transport has undergone radical changes over the last ten years. If security was formerly understood in terms of crime and accident statistics, today it’s rather a matter of people’s perceptions. The dissertation studies the origin and impact of this change.

Ola Svenonius argues that developments in public transport are part of a more comprehensive change in our view of security issues, where security in the form of perceptions and feelings occupies a central role.

Of course, accidents still constitute an extensive field for safety work, but this is going on in the background. Instead, feelings and perceptions are the focus of this "next generation security policy." This is seen in all three cities I studied – Berlin, Stockholm, and Warsaw, he says.

In the three cities security policy developed in different ways. The countries’ political history affects what the broader international trend toward greater use of surveillance cameras, for example, looks like in each case. What they have in common is that when feelings of security become the central category in security efforts, this entails greater use of technical surveillance of urban transport and surrounding environments. This occurs when the security is subordinated to a commercial logic.

The dissertation reveals several things of interest both to the public and to political institutions. It shows how security becomes a discourse that lends authorities and companies nearly unlimited legitimacy regarding what measures can be taken and what phenomena might constitute a threat. At the same time, the framework for security work has become almost entirely autonomous in relation to crime statistics. The dissertation can thus be seen as part of a critical interrogation of current security politics.

There’s also an equality aspect to the altered security and surveillance practice, according to Ola Svenonius. Police work in urban transport is primarily not performed by the state police, but rather by private security firms or long-term unemployed individuals who are recruited as security attendants and supposed to “radiate” security by dint of their uniformed presence. Deviant social behaviors are classed as insecure and become a key focus in security work. Regardless of whether this is official policy or not – and there are great differences here – homeless people, drug addicts, and young people constitute the most important target groups for security work in the service of the average consumer.

The most recent cases of abuse of homeless and young people by Stockholm SL Public Transport guards are thus not examples of deviant behavior but rather a more fundamental, systematic phenomenon, according to Ola Svenonius.

Ola Svenonius is a doctoral candidate at Södertörn University and the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University.

Contact Ola Svenonius: Tel: +46 (0)8 608 45 17, Mobile: +46 (0)731 01 77 78 E-mail: ola.svenonius@sh.se

Dissertation: Sensitising Urban Transport Security: Surveillance and Policing in Berlin, Stockholm, and Warsaw.

Public defense: Friday, December 16, 2011, 1 – 3 p.m. in Hall G at Stockholm University, Arrhenius Laboratories, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C.

External examiner: Associate Professor Peo Hansen, Linköping University.

Annika Borg | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>