The inspections we put up with at airport gates and the endless warnings we get at train stations, on buses, and all the rest are the way we encounter the vast apparatus of U.S. security. Like the wars fought in its name, these measures are supposed to make us safer in a post-9/11 world. But do they? Against Security explains how these regimes of command-and-control not only annoy and intimidate but are counterproductive. Sociologist Harvey Molotch takes us through the sites, the gizmos, and the politics to urge greater trust in basic citizen capacities--along with smarter design of public spaces. In a new preface, he discusses abatement of panic and what the NSA leaks reveal about the real holes in our security.
Harvey Molotch is professor of sociology and metropolitan studies at New York University. His other books include the classic Urban Fortunes and the more recent Where Stuff Comes From.
Preface to the Paperback Edition ix Preface xvii Acknowledgments xxi Chapter 1 Introduction: Colors of Security 1 Chapter 2 Bare Life: Restroom Anxiety and the Urge for Control 22 Chapter 3 Below the Subway: Taking Care Day In and Day Out with Noah McClain 50 Chapter 4 Wrong-Way Flights: Pushing Humans Away 85 Chapter 5 Forting Up the Skyline: Rebuilding at Ground Zero 128 Chapter 6 Facing Katrina: Illusions of Levee and Compulsion to Build 154 Chapter 7 Conclusion: Radical Ambiguity and the Default to Decency 192 Notes 225 Index 251