New Book Shares Untold Story of the Transportation Security Administration

 “101 Pat-Downs” takes behind-the-scenes look at airport security just ahead of the TSA’s 20-year anniversary

Sacramento, Calif., November 2021 – Award-winning author and professor, Shawna Malvini Redden, has released 101 Pat-Downs: An Undercover Look at Airport Security and the TSA, just ahead of the agency’s 20-year anniversary. Part confessional, part investigative research and part light-hearted social commentary, 101 Pat-Downs takes readers behind the scenes as Malvini Redden explores airport security interactions and offers solutions to navigating what has become the most stressful part of modern-day travel.

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Shawna Malvini Redden, who specializes in organizational communication research, teaching and consulting, interviewed more than 200 passengers, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and airline crew. She spent years observing security lines as a passenger, watching everything from TSOs cracking jokes to passengers fuming over carry-on confiscations, to the occasional security shut-down and everything in between.

Seasoned and amateur travelers alike will recognize familiar characters (and possibly themselves) in 101 Pat-Downs, including the stereotypically gruff TSO, the entitled business traveler and the nervous first-time flier. Malvini Redden examines airport security interactions in a social-science framework, explaining how people navigate communication in complex interpersonal situations – like TSA checkpoints.

“As a road warrior myself, I appreciated 101 Pat-Downs and its keen observations about our current form of security theatre and how people on either side of that power dynamic react to and evolve because of it,” said Elisa Camahort Page, co-author of Road Map for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism and Advocacy for All.

Now available at online bookstores, 101 Pat-downs is a perfect traveler’s companion for navigating what one TSO described as the nation’s “second most hated government agency.” The book also offers research-driven suggestions for improving the airport security experience for passengers and TSOs alike.

Shawna Malvini Redden is an associate professor in the Communication Studies department at California State University, Sacramento. She holds a doctorate in organizational and interpersonal communication from Arizona State University. Her academic research has been widely published and she has received Top Paper awards from the National and International Communication Associations. In addition to academic and professional writing about communication, she maintains a personal blog called The Bluest Muse.

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