Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI)

Andrea Jerković, Alexander Siedschlag

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter introduces the concept of ethical, legal, and social issues - known as ELSI - as it is relevant to security science research and security science-informed practice. After defining ethical, legal, and social issues, the chapter addresses main ELSI domains and discusses how to address those in security science. Arguments are illustrated using examples from domains such as critical infrastructure protection and novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) response. Subsequently, the chapter demonstrates the relevance of ELSI analysis in security science for risk assessment and vulnerability analysis. It argues for a comprehensive approach to ELSI assessment and consideration in security science that actively involves members of the public in the process of exploring ethical, legal, and social issues. Selected public participation methods are recommended. Moreover, the chapter discusses the use of ELSI to address the security vs. liberty dilemma in security science and the real-world security practice that it may inform and offers criteria for “good security science” that embeds assessing and addressing of ELSI throughout the research and dissemination process. The chapter concludes by arguing that security science should provide a better connection of the disciplines involved in its research undertakings. Security science should establish networked expertise to foster deliberate planning and well as rapid decision support capability for crisis management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Security Science
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319918754
ISBN (Print)9783319918747
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Social Sciences


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