KIRAS Security Research

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Projects of the joint German-Austrian call

R&D- Support Actions >Call 2006 >


Subjective Awareness of security / Insecurity in Public Spaces

The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG),
The Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT),
The Centre of competence for Social Work GmbH at the Applied University Campus Vienna and the Institute for advanced studies in Vienna (IHS)

Period of time


The Study „Subjective Awareness of Security / Insecurity in Public Spaces” addresses with the concentration on a so-called “critical infrastructure” current attempts and challenges of the security research. The sociological perspective of the awareness of security, in concrete terms the analysis of the subjective perceptual process of security and insecurity is the focus of SUSI. In this project the subjective awareness of a security feeling is seen as an individual interpretation of a situation which has been constructed not only through the communication with other individuals, but also through the media.
With this approach SUSI differentiate itself from a strong technical oriented security term and focuses instead the question: “Which consequences on the perceived security of different groups of people do already existing crime-preventing measures have?”. Summarizing SUSI aims at the elicitation of subjective security feelings of certain groups of people and resulting from that, the presentation of the importance of an interdisciplinary collaboration within the security research.


SUSI addresses the subjective awareness in public spaces and focuses this area by researching within different user groups of five places in Vienna over a period of two years. In these different user groups there are people from the organisations of the social services, the executive authority, different business, pedestrians and residents. Results have been produced on different levels. Through the participant observation statements about the individual behaviour on the different places are possible. Therefore the research team went along with police officers and also employees of the social services to accompany them on their daily routine at those places. Furthermore the research team interviewed different people to illustrate the subjective awareness of the places from different actors’ point of view. Following this, the structures of awareness of pedestrians regarding very specific situations were gathered through a qualitative vignettes analysis.
The research process was divided into three phases: In an explorative phase the basis of subjective definition-processes have been explored with qualitative expert-interviews and also with participant observations.
After that, these findings were condensed through the vignettes analysis to a structure of definition-processes. And in conclusion in an utilization-oriented phase, which provides the basis for advanced educational processes, developed.

Project leader
Dr. Mag. Tosca Wendt, Centre of competence for Social Work GmbH
Dr. Mag. Katharina Miko, Centre of competence for Social Work GmbH

Project staff
Dr. Christiane Atzmüller, Centre of competence for Social Work GmbH
Mag. Jochen Kugler, Centre of competence for Social Work GmbH
Dr. Peter M. Steiner, Institute for advanced studies

Dr. Mag. Tosca Wendt, Kompetenzzentrum für Soziale Arbeit GmbH
1100 Wien, Daumegasse 5/2,
Tel: 0043 (1) 6066877-8300,
Fax: 0043 (1) 6066877-109

Dr. Mag. Katharina Miko, Kompetenzzentrum für Soziale Arbeit GmbH
1100 Wien, Daumegasse 5/2,
Tel: 0043 (1) 6066877-8300,
Fax: 0043 (1) 6066877-109