Published September 9, 2020
Episode 3 of the podcast features David A. Westbrook, UB School of Law and Mark Maguire, National University of Ireland Maynooth. Professors Westbrook and Maguire discuss airport security and counterterrorism, and their new book, Getting Through Security: Counterterrorism, Bureaucracy, and a Sense of the Modern (Routledge, 2020).
Keywords: Cultural Studies, Culture and Society, Law and Social Science, Law and Society, Counterterrorism, Ethnography, Political Economy.
About the book: Getting Through Security offers an unprecedented look behind the scenes of global security structures. The authors unveil the “secret colleges” of counterterrorism, a world haunted by the knowledge that intelligence will fail, and Leviathan will not arrive quickly enough to save everyone. Based on extensive interviews with both special forces and other security operators who seek to protect the public, and survivors of terrorist attacks, Getting Through Security ranges from targeted European airports to African malls and hotels to explore counterterrorism today. Maguire and Westbrook reflect on what these practices mean for the bureaucratic state and its violence, and offer suggestions for the perennial challenge to secure not just modern life, but humane politics.
David A. Westbrook thinks and writes about the social and intellectual consequences of contemporary political economy. His work influences numerous disciplines, including law, economics, finance, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and design. He has spoken on six continents to academics, business and financial leaders, members of the security community, civil institutions and governments, often with the sponsorship of the U.S. State Department. Westbrook has published numerous articles and book chapters, as well as five books, most recently Out of Crisis: Rethinking Our Financial Markets and Deploying Ourselves: Islamist Violence and the Responsible Projection of U.S. Force. His nature photography has appeared in The Flume, the official paper of Park County, Colorado. Westbrook teaches on business and international topics, including basic courses in corporations and international law. See faculty profile.
Mark Maguire is a social anthropologist with expertise in security, especially counter-terrorism, biometric security, abnormal behaviour, and new predictive security systems. His background is in international migration studies, and his early work was concerned with exploring migration through ethnographic research on everyday lives. He authored Differently Irish (Woodfield Press, 2004), which explores the lives of Vietnamese refugees and their families, and, with co-author Fiona Murphy, Integration in Ireland: the everyday lives of African migrants (Manchester University Press, 2012). His current research focuses on public behaviour during the first moments of attacks on major critical infrastructure sites such as international airports. This work is funded as part of the multinational Global Foresight Project (https://www.socant.su.se/english/global-foresight/global-foresight). Maguire's research on security is shown in several edited books: The Anthropology of Security: perspectives from the frontline of policing, counter-terrorism and border control (Pluto, 2014), Bodies as Evidence: security, knowledge and power (Duke University Press, 2018) and recently Spaces of Security: ethnogaphies of security-scapes, surveillance and control (New York University Press, 2019) co-edited with Setha M. Low.
Azalia Muchransyah is a filmmaker, writer, and scholar from Indonesia. In Spring 2021 she completed her PhD in Media Study. During her time as our podcast producer, she was a PhD Candidate in Media Study at UB. Muchransyah's research investigates the status of activist media, specifically for HIV advocacy in Indonesia. Her short films have been officially selected for screening at international festivals and academic conferences.