Social Construction of Safety in UAS Technology in Concrete Settings: Some Military Cases Studied

Social Construction of Safety in UAS Technology in Concrete Settings: Some Military Cases Studied

G.C.H. Bakx J.M. Nyce 

Department of Military Behavioural Science & Philosophy, Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands

Department of Anthropology, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA

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Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in general and UAS safety in particular have so far received little attention in the science, technology and society (STS) literature. This paper therefore reports on sev-eral (military) cases of this relatively new technology, focusing specifically on issues of safety. Quite often, safety of technology is considered the result of a rational process – one of a series of rational, often calculative, linear steps. The paper’s results suggest that establishing safety in military UASs is very much a social process. Approaching (military) UAS safety from this perspective could perhaps be complementary to more analytical and rational perspectives on safety of this type of technology. Further research is therefore suggested on the implications that social processes can have for safety in UASs. So far, it seems, such a position on safety in technology has been little explored in both the STS and safety literature explicitly.


military, safety, social process, social science, STS, technology, UAS


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