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101 Pat-Downs: An Undercover Look at Airport Security and the TSA (Hardcover)
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Two million people fly commercially every day in the United States, and every single passenger must interact with members of airport security. Why do travelers put up with long lines and invasive screenings? Why do Transportation Security Administration officers (TSOs) put up with the disrespect and anger directed at them?
Shawna Malvini Redden asked these questions for years—interviewing passenger and security officers alike, taking note of everything from carry-on bananas to passengers who fumed when their water bottles were confiscated. Malvini Redden encountered a range of passengers: the entitled business travelers; the parents with toddlers; the hot mess, travels-once-a-year, can’t-figure-out-how-to-get-through-the-security-checkpoint-without-crying flier. The answers, Malvini Redden admitted, were far more complex than she anticipated.
101 Pat-Downs is the story of Malvini Redden’s research journey, part confessional, part investigative research, and part light-hearted social commentary. In it she illuminates common experiences in airport security checkpoints specifically focused on emotion and identity, presenting the inside scoop on airport security interactions via her experiences and those of passengers and TSOs.
Along the way Malvini Redden introduces common characters of airport security, humanizing the stereotypically gruff TSO and explaining in a social-science framework why so many passengers feel nervous inside TSA checkpoints. Ultimately, Malvini Redden shows how people navigate communication in complex interpersonal situations and offers research-driven suggestions for improving interactions for passengers and TSOs alike.
About the Author
Shawna Malvini Redden is an associate professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento, specializing in organizational and interpersonal communication research and qualitative methods. Her research has appeared in Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Qualitative Health Research, and Departures in Critical Qualitative Research.
“As a road warrior myself, I appreciated Shawna Malvini Redden’s lively 101 Pat-Downs and its keen observations about our current form of security theatre and how people on either side of that power dynamic react to and evolve because of it. I appreciated Malvini Redden’s focus on the fact that we have rights when we fly, and we can take actions to protect and report violations of them.”—Elisa Camahort Page, coauthor of Road Map for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All
“An exemplar of in-depth organizational research and a must-read for all frequent travelers, this book provides a behind-the-scenes picture of one of America’s most despised government agencies—the Transportation Security Administration.”—Sarah J. Tracy, author of Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact