Social aspects of security research: the four "pillars"

Throughout the entire research process, social issues are closely interwoven with work on technological developments. Indeed, they form an integral part of the individual projects. The task of the research, which is predominantly based in the humanities and social sciences, is to make a significant contribution to problem-solving in the context of specific development processes and applications. In addition, social science projects are examining topics that play a role in several projects as well as fundamental questions concerning civil security research.

There are four “pillars” or dimensions to the social aspects of the security research being conducted, as follows:

  • Culture
    The cultural dimension addresses socially relevant, security-related research on values, perceptions, communication and other behaviour patterns. The research also includes cause and effect analyses as well as questions to do with security economics.
  • Architecture
    The security architecture dimension focuses on the national and international constitution and transformation of the conceptual, institutional and spatial framework within which measures to establish security are implemented, in the context of changing statehood.
  • Organisation
    The organisation dimension looks at the challenges in relation to the operating framework, structures and patterns of action of stakeholders relevant to security, in the context of new security requirements and technological advances.
  • Technology
    The social dimension of technology research is concerned with questions and problems regarding the emergence and innovation, acceptance, implementation and consequences of technologisation processes, both at the level of the stakeholders directly participating in them and on the broader level.
Vier-Säulen-Modell Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen der zivilen Sicherheitsforschung

Social aspects of security research: the four "pillars"

Projektteam Fachdialog Sicherheitsforschung / BMBF

The research in these four dimensions is based on a combination of various theories whilst remaining receptive to new aspects and theories.

Programmatic aspects of the research in all four dimensions are based on the principle that research should be carried out in order to deliver appropriate security strategies and technology developments and not in order to create acceptance for technologies that are already ready to use. Consequently, the focus lies on:

  • questions of interpretation and assessment, such as perception and expectations of security or of the sociocultural and political-normative dimensions of threat definitions;
  • comprehensive contextual reflections on the relevant dimensions of the prerequisites for and significance and consequences of each security strategy; and
  • a socio-technical mentality that takes the technical structuring of social aspects equally as seriously as sociocultural influences on technologisation strategies and helps ensure both processes reflect that mentality.