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Politics at the Airport

Politics at the Airport

Mark B. Salter Editor
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Politics at the Airport
    Book Description:

    Politics at the Airport brings together leading scholars to examine how airports both shape and are shaped by current political, social, and economic conditions. It broadens our understanding of the connections among power, space, and migration and establishes the airport as critical to the study of politics and global life. Contributors: Peter Adey, Colin J. Bennett, Gillian Fuller, Francisco R. Klauser, Gallya Lahav, David Lyon, Benjamin J. Muller, Valérie November, Jean Ruegg._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6654-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Mark B. Salter
  4. Introduction: Airport Assemblage
    (pp. ix-xx)
    Mark B. Salter

    Few sites are more iconographic of both the opportunities and the vulnerabilities of contemporary globalization than the international airport. The popular imagination is filled with images of postmodern hubs that cater to the contemporary road warriors and global nomads that philosopher Peter Sloterdijk and architect Rem Koolhaus haved dubbed the “kinetic elite.”¹ Cities unto themselves—with all attendant institutions, social forces, politics, and anxieties—airports are both an exception to and paradigmatic of present-day life. Using a Foucauldian frame, they can be understood as “heterotopias,” social spaces that are “in relation with all other sites, but in such a way...

  5. 1 The Global Airport: Managing Space, Speed, and Security
    (pp. 1-28)
    Mark B. Salter

    Airports are vital and vulnerable nodes in the global mobility regime. The coordinated exploitation of security gaps on 9/11 and direct attacks on Glasgow, Madrid, and other airports subsequently have demonstrated that the lure of adventure and exotic destinations has been overlaid with anxieties, frustration, and fear. Each of the major actors within the global airport face a different set of dilemmas and pressures. This chapter lays out the principal dilemmas in terms of space, speed, and security, based on the literature of airport management.

    The increase of passenger and cargo flows, along with a simultaneous pressure for low-priced travel...

  6. 2 Filtering Flows, Friends, and Foes: Global Surveillance
    (pp. 29-50)
    David Lyon

    Apparently insignificant aspects of ordinary life—banking, traveling, using the phone—are routinely recorded, stored, processed, and retrieved. Those data, originating in or from our bodies, travel great distances not only within organizations or countries but also across borders. Global mobility, much prized in the late-modern capitalist world system, generates large-scale surveillance as people physically cross borders through airports and other gateways, or as their data travel for trade, employment, law enforcement, or other reasons. New travel documents such as passports (for external movement) or ID cards (for internal movement) carry even more data extracted from the body (biometrics) to...

  7. 3 Unsafe at Any Altitude: The Comparative Politics of No-Fly Lists in the United States and Canada
    (pp. 51-76)
    Colin J. Bennett

    Gilbert and Sullivan would no doubt have found great satirical humor in the various attempts of governments to keep tabs on their citizens in the early twenty-first century. Each of these quotations implies an opposing theory about the motivations for surveillance. The chilling implications of the Lord High Executioner’s “little list” is contrasted with the well-meaning attempts of King Gama to “benefit humanity” by correcting his “erring fellow creatures.”² The arbitrariness of the former is contrasted with the meticulous and systematic approach of the latter. The motivations behind the “little lists” are justified to find scapegoats, whereas those of the...

  8. 4 Mobility and Border Security: The U.S. Aviation System, the State, and the Rise of Public–Private Partnerships
    (pp. 77-104)
    Gallya Lahav

    Immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States shut down its air-traffic system for several days, and rerouted an estimated forty-five thousand passengers to Canada. The creation of Operation Yellow Ribbon by Canada’s Department of Transport marked the first time in history that Canada shut down its own airspace.¹ Beyond lending testament to spectacular international cooperation, these dramatic events revealed the expansive and interdependent nature of contemporary border control, now including foreign states, and other nonstate and private actors such as airlines. Moreover, the implications of the presence of foreigners in the terrorist attacks reflected the...

  9. 5 Airport Surveillance between Public and Private Interests: CCTV at Geneva International Airport
    (pp. 105-126)
    Francisco R. Klauser, Jean Ruegg and Valérie November

    Among the large variety of public and private places affected by recent developments in closed circuit television (CCTV), the application of video surveillance in the context of airport risk management presents several specific issues. Given their privileged, symbolic, and practical position within processes of globalization as departure and arrival points for flows of people and goods, airports are particularly exposed to different types of risks and are thus subject to increased local, national, and international security concern. Within the airport context, security issues in general and the use and design of video surveillance systems in particular provide a symptomatic illustration...

  10. 6 Travelers, Borders, Dangers: Locating the Political at the Biometric Border
    (pp. 127-144)
    Benjamin J. Muller

    Traveling is risky. From the pages of Richard Preston’s novelThe Hot Zone, one is confronted with the possibility that the person appearing to have motion sickness on the flight seated to your right is in fact the carrier of a deadly strain of the Ebola virus.¹ Your quaint family vacation to the British countryside can quickly turn out to be a confrontation with foot-and-mouth disease; turn the children’s eyes from the burning pyres of animal carcasses. Stay on the disinfectant mat when crossing the virtual border at the airport. SARS, AIDS, avian flu—enjoy your holiday. Don’t touch anything;...

  11. 7 Mobilities and Modulations: The Airport as a Difference Machine
    (pp. 145-160)
    Peter Adey

    As opposed to a mere gateway or a doorway, or a warehouse that simply shelters passengers from the elements, we know that airports must do something to movement. Similar to the transformers that convert electricity for transportation over high-voltage power lines, to the step-down transformer that converts it into a more manageable format for your home, the airport transforms or modulates mobility from the ground to the air and vice versa into manageable modes of movement. Essentially the airport is a locus of numerous horizons, thresholds through which we must pass and become changed as we do.¹

    More often than...

  12. 8 Welcome to Windows 2.1: Motion Aesthetics at the Airport
    (pp. 161-174)
    Gillian Fuller

    The airport is, among many other things, a perceptual machine. Airports do not merely sort and sequence our bodies, they also guide our perceptions. Airports work our feelings, as well as our baggage and identification data. They move us in many ways. We glide on moving walkways in air-conditioned comfort, shielded from the heat of the tarmac and the chill of the rain at the exits and entrances. Cocooned from the smell of avgas and uncontrollable weather, the sound of planes is barely discernible—the threatening roar of jet power dampened by thick layers of clear glass. Within the glassy...

  13. Contributors
    (pp. 175-176)
  14. Index
    (pp. 177-183)