Research project - Security in public space (SIRA)


Especially since the terror attacks of 9/11, the issue of an adequate proportion between freedom and security is in the center of public debate. At the same time it is undisputed, that the increasing application of security measures shifts the balance between civil rights and public security  towards the latter. Additionally, regarding the acceptance of such public security measures, various differences in societal acceptance can be observed whilst performing an international comparison.

Research goals and approach

The project seeks to analyze the factors that contribute towards public acceptance or disapproval of security measures in public space. For the purpose of researching this phenomenon case studies in two distinct fields of interest will be conducted. The first field of research concentrates on security measures in connection with public air transport (air transport security), whilst the second field of interest is dedicated to the collection and storage of private data by governmental institutions (information security) in order to generate public security.

Innovations and Perspectives

The central thesis of the research project implies that the acceptance of public security measures depends on the socio-cultural factors that surround the societal environment in which such measures are employed. In order to analyze the socio-cultural factors, the project aims at generating a theoretical framework, that simultaneously provides the basis for the empirical case studies.

It is expected that the results of the research project will have implications that reach beyond scientific relevance, for it seeks to provide a better understanding of the complex relation of acceptance of security measures, political decision-making and socio-cultural background of societal actors. Furthermore on the basis of the research results security measures may prove to be more effective and cost-efficient, based on broad acceptance by the public.

Project title

Security in public space (SIRA)

Research period

08/2010 – 12/2013

Research consortium

  • Universität Hamburg, Institut für Volkskunde/ Kulturanthropologie
  • TU Darmstadt, Fachgebiet für Öffentliches Recht
  • EBS Business School, Oestrich-Winkel
  • Fraunhofer-Institut ISI und IOSB, Karlsruhe
  • Universität der Bundeswehr München, Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Institut für Soziologie und Volkswirtschaftslehre, Neubiberg

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