Rethinking Airport Security: From Necessary Evil to Seamless Experience?
Helene Ilkjaer (University of Copenhagen)
Paper short abstract:
Airports aim to move beyond the imagery of uninviting architecture and stressful processes. But where does the airport industry's focus on experience leave security? This paper investigates questions of remote screening, operator interfaces, and the (im)mobility of security imaginaries.
Paper long abstract:
Airports are trying to rebrand and reconceptualize themselves as experience sites, as zones of entertainment and culture with global access and local flavor. In doing so, airports are trying to become more than just places of transit and to move beyond the imagery of uninviting architecture and stressful processes. But where does the airport industry's focus on experience leave security? How will the future of airport security practices and technologies look like? How can security processing be incorporated as part of a (positive) airport experience? And what will this mean for the security screeners currently operating the lines? Based on fieldwork in two international airports and work with a Danish company that has developed a new security concept for airports, this paper examines a case of user-oriented security technology innovation. Taking its point of departure in the perspectives and work practices of the security screeners, I investigate questions of remote security screening, operator interfaces, and the (im)mobility of security imaginaries.
Security on the move: mobility and experimentation [Anthropology of security]