From skin to strategy: Repositioning the terrain and temporality of heat stress through social practices

Elspeth Oppermann, Matt Brearley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Heat stress has been a topic of military research for over half a century. It has been managed largely as a technical and medical problem. This approach frames heat stress management as a response to environmental conditions. As a result, in practice, heat management protocols may be ignored in favour of achieving a mission. This chapter draws on emergent, cross-disciplinary research that combines thermal physiology with Social Practice Theory, in order to make two related conceptual arguments. First, if heat stress emerges at the interface of activity and the environment, operational activities themselves all inherently shape heat stress. This makes all of the drivers of heat stress more visible, thereby opening up the times, spaces and ways in which heat stress can be prevented, mitigated and managed. Second, heat management goes beyond tactical decisions; it can have strategic and operational implications. We close by briefly considering what such thinking means for military personnel and for society more broadly.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAdvances in Military Geosciences
    EditorsStuart Pearson, Jane L. Holloway, Richard Thackway
    Place of PublicationCham
    PublisherSpringer, Cham
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-73408-8
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-73407-1, 978-3-030-10372-9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

    Publication series

    NameAdvances in Military Geosciences
    ISSN (Print)2522-8315
    ISSN (Electronic)2522-8323


    Dive into the research topics of 'From skin to strategy: Repositioning the terrain and temporality of heat stress through social practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this