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Against SecurityHow We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways, and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger$
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Harvey Molotch

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163581

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163581.001.0001

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Bare Life: Restroom Anxiety and the Urge for Control

Bare Life: Restroom Anxiety and the Urge for Control

(p.22) Chapter 2 Bare Life: Restroom Anxiety and the Urge for Control
Against Security

Harvey Molotch

Princeton University Press

This chapter takes up what might at first appear an unlikely setting for examining security dynamics: the public restroom. There are lessons to be taken from this venue, so often ignored in serious scholarship and indeed the usual basis only for jokes. Here we can see anxieties in play and all sorts of unsavory mechanisms, both at the micro and macro level, that come in response. The toilet allows us to see the combination of factors that repress—the usual culprits of class, race, and gender discrimination—but also soulful anxieties that come with the more basic human territory. Some degree of capitalist plot is happening, but that is only part of the story—a larger lesson to be considered across other less intimate realms, whether market-based or not. Whatever the combination of sources, the chapter points the way toward a safer and more pleasant toilet and one with the promise of ecological reform.

Keywords:   public restroom, security, anxiety, human territory, ecological reform, class, race, gender discrimination

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