TP2 – Sociology

This part of the project covers the structure and socio-cultural differences in organizing, perceiving and assessing security measures within the range of air-traffic security.

The guideline dominating the examination boils down to the thesis: How air-traffic security is structured, perceived and assessed and what its interdependence to the security culture in each country is. If one takes a close look two different subjects are examined with regard to one major German airport.

  1. On the one hand the system of luggage check, passengers check (frontier check) shall be described in its structure and development in a detailed way.
  2.  On the other hand generating and applying personal information from booking the flight up to leaving the airport.

In devising the two topics three different perspectives are being looked at:

a)      One point of interest is the reconstruction of the organizational aspects of security (including the legal framework).

b)      The second level deals with the (individual) perception of measures that have to be considered in their cultural, situative and personal context.

The way security is perceived and considered depends on the socio-cultural background of those concerned (cultural context), but also on the individual preferences (personal context) and the respective local framework, as it is predetermined (situative context) by the architectonic dimensions of the airport.

c)      The third level that is being observed is the public discourse on air-traffic security that completely differs from the security discourse of individual and railway traffic. In separate case studies political as well as media and subject-related public discourse is to be analysed, which does not necessarily emerge in the same way.

Organization, perception and discourse on security are depending on the different angles:

1. the passengers’ angle

2. the airport personnel’s and experts’ angle

3. the angle of the public.

Beyond the descriptive analysis of the respective security measures (organizational aspects of security) this examination deals with the three groups of people concerned by security.

a) First interviews are undertaken with different groups of passengers ranging from holiday passengers up to frequent passengers, as well as supplementary interviews with non-passengers, these are people who refuse to fly under current security conditions.

b) Secondly the questioning of airport personnel as well as internal experts and counter-experts is envisaged to document the structure and spectrum of public discourse on the subject.

c) As public discourse beyond the professional public is determined und influenced by the media, case studies on the topic of air traffic security in print media and / or digital media are carried out.

Different steps of analysis are aimed at pursuing social interpretation processes on security / insecurity and identifying different (national, regional, social and / or professional) security cultures, to grasp comprehensive and dynamic processes of formation of collective – individual acceptance. The acceptance determines in each case what the difference between security and insecurity is, that is which values are worth being protected, can be protected and may be endangered.


  • Bug, Mathias/Enskat, Sebastian/Fischer, Susanne/ Klüfers, Philipp/ Röllgen, Jasmin/ Wagner, Katrin: Strategien gegen die Unsicherheit. Europäische Sicherheitsmaßnahmen nach 9/11, in: Die Friedens-Warte, 86:3-4, 2011, S. 53-83.


Dipl.-Soz. Katrin Wagner
Institut für Soziologie und Volkswirtschaftslehre
Professur für Allgemeine Soziologie
Universität der Bundeswehr München
Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
85577 Neubiberg
Tel.: +49 89 6004 – 2408
Fax: +49 89 6004 – 3118

Projekt management:

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bonß
Institut für Soziologie und Volkswirtschaftslehre
Professur für Allgemeine Soziologie
Universität der Bundeswehr München
Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
85577 Neubiberg
Tel.: +49 89 6004 – 2047
Fax: +49 89 6004 – 3138

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