Call for Contributions - Towards a Cultural Understanding of Air Forces

Ross Mahoney's picture
Call for Publications
July 31, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Social Sciences, Military History, Diplomacy and International Relations, Cultural History / Studies

Culture matters but why does it matter? Culture matters because the values, beliefs and assumptions that underpin military organisations shape their behaviour and that of their personnel at all levels. However, the relationship between air forces and their culture has been little discussed and much assumed in the historiography. Indeed, as Allan English reflected in 2004, little has been written on the culture of air forces, and despite some notable examples, this largely remains the case. As such, to understand the importance of culture in shaping the behaviours of air forces and their personnel, Dr Ross Mahoney and Dr Lynsey Shaw Cobden are putting together an edited volume that aims to explore the cultural evolution of air forces from the early years of flight through to the present day.

Themes to be explored might include, but not limited to the cultures of:

The Human Element | Service Experience | Roles and Operations

Strategy, Theory and Doctrine | Technological Developments | Organisation and Policy

Education and Training | Ethical and Moral Issues

National, International and Transnational Experiences

Proposed chapters of 6-8,000 words that take a number of different approaches to the question of air force culture are encouraged. Also, the editors are keen to see proposals that examine the culture of non-NATO/non-western air forces. In addition to established academics, the editors seek proposals from postgraduate students, early career scholars and those with relevant professional experience. The editors will be happy to provide support to junior academics wishing to contribute to the volume.

If you are interested in contributing then submit a proposal to the emails below along with a title, 300-word abstract and short biography by 31 July 2018.

The editors are currently in discussion with the University Press of Kentucky to publish this volume in their new ‘Aviation and Air Power’ series edited by Dr Brian D. Laslie.


Dr Ross Mahoney

Dr Lynsey Shaw Cobden

About the Editors

Dr Ross Mahoney ( is an independent historian specialising in air power and the history of air warfare. He is the Editor of From Balloons to Drones, an online platform that seeks to provide analysis and debate about air power history, theory, and contemporary operations. Between 2013 and 2017, he was the resident Historian at the Royal Air Force Museum in the United Kingdom, and he is a graduate of the University of Birmingham (MPhil and PhD) and the University of Wolverhampton (BA (Hons) and PGCE). To date, he has published several chapters and articles, edited two books, and delivered papers on three continents. He is also an Assistant Director of the Second World War Research Group (SWWRG) as well as a Director of the SWWRG’s Asia-Pacific Regional Group.

Dr Lynsey Shaw Cobden ( is a historian of modern medicine, with specific interests in the medical aspects of flight, air power, and modern warfare. She works for the Air Historical Branch (RAF) as an Historical Researcher. She recently completed her doctorate on the subject of ‘Neuropsychiatry and the Management of Aerial Warfare: The Royal Air Force Neuropsychiatric Division in the Second World War’, at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford. Professor Mark Harrison supervised this work, and the Wellcome Trust funded the thesis. She is currently preparing this for publication as an open-access monograph.