KIRAS Security Research

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Urban Spaces of Transition and their Securities

The project investigated the structures and processes of security work at railway stations which were conceptualised as urban spaces of transition or junktures of traffic and information flows in modern society. Railway stations fulfill a variety of functions: transportation needs, shopping, entertainment, etc. that changed the safety and security related needs of these halfpublic spaces. Using an ethnographic and qualitative approach, security workers were interviewed and accompanied at their walking beats at three major railway stations in Austria (Linz Hauptbahnhof, Graz Hauptbahnhof, Wien Praterstern). Security workers do not have the same qualification and legitimation as police officers and they have to deal with a variety of groups and situations, especially with marginalised people who use railway stations as their living environment. Research pointed out how security workers find a balance between control and cooperation – with other actors like social workers, police or shop owners, but also with marginalised groups – in order to maintain order. Resources for maintaining order are restricted and the demands of different groups are often hard to reconcile. Although security workers have a clear legal framework within which they can act, the line between informal and formal structures and processes is delicate and not always easy to draw. Starting from the assumption that social order is not given, but produced and negotiated on routine grounds and on a day-to-day basis, the project showed how „doing order“ works efficiently and effectively and which qualifications are needed in orde to fulfill this task successfully.

Project leader:
Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit (KfV)

Other Project- or Cooperation partner:
Österreichisches Institut für Raumplanung (ÖIR)
ÖIR-Projekthaus GmbH

Mag. Birgit Zetinigg
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A-1100 Wien
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