PhD Candidate, School of Political & Social Inquiry, Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Email: alex@alexburns.net

Phone: 0467 387 241



Grad Cert of Information Technology, Swinburne University (2008); Grad Cert of Business (Project Management), Swinburne University (2007); MA (Counter-Terrorism Studies), Monash University (2007); MSc (Strategic Foresight), Swinburne University (2005); BA (Cinema Studies, Politics, Philosophy), La Trobe University (2002).




Alex Burns’ research focuses on: (1) terrorist groups that grow rapidly and develop state-building capabilities, and (2) economic statecraft actors, both using strategic culture theory-building and neoclassical realism. His PhD at Australia’s Monash University develops a new conceptual theory of terrorist groups as strategic subcultures using case study and process tracing methods to examine Aum Shinrikyo and the Islamic State. He has published in Contemporary Security Policy, Media International Australia, Journal of Futures Studies, and Media/Culture journals. He has presented research findings to the International Studies Association, the Association of Internet Researchers, the Telecommunications Society of Australia, the East-West Center in Washington DC, Sensis, Telstra, Westpac, and other organisations. His H-index is 7 (Google Scholar).


Burns’ extensive research management experience includes Research Funding and Development Manager and Research Facilitator roles at Australia’s Victoria University (2008-16), Senior Quality & Planning Officer at Swinburne University for an Australian Universities Quality Agency audit (2007-08), and as senior researcher in the Smart Internet Technology Cooperative Research Centre (2004-07), where he coauthored the Smart Internet 2010 report (2005).

He edited and wrote for the Disinformation website (1998-2008). As a journalist he wrote for 21CREVelationDesktop, MarketingInformation AgeArtbyte, Playboy.com’s ‘Digital Culture’ magazines, and La Trobe University’s Rabelais student newspaper (1994-2004).



Recent Publications


  • Alex Burns and Ben Eltham. ‘Australia’s Strategic Culture: Constraints and Opportunities in Security Policymaking.’ In Jeffrey S. Lantis (ed.). Strategic Cultures and Security Policies in the Asia-Pacific. New York: Routledge, 2015, 22-45.
  • Alex Burns and Ben Eltham. ‘Australia’s Strategic Culture: Constraints and Opportunities in Security Policymaking.’ 2014. Contemporary Security Policy 35(2): 187-210.
  • Alex Burns and Stephen McGrail. ‘Examining Possible Internet Futures.’ 2012. Journal of Futures Studies 16(4): 33-49.
  • Alex Burns, ‘Doubting the Global War on Terror.’ 2011. M/C Journal 14(1) (March).
  • Alex Burns and Ben Eltham. ‘Catastrophic Failure Theories and Disaster Journalism: Evaluating Media Explanations of Australia’s ‘Black Saturday’ Bushfires.’ 2010. Media International Australia 137 (November), 90-99. (Publisher accepted version.)
  • Alex Burns and Ben Eltham. ‘The Film Finance Corporation and Hollywood’s Race to the Bottom.’ 2010. Media International Australia 136 (August), 103-118. (Publisher accepted version.)


Notable Publications


Research Interests


  • Strategic Subcultures of terrorist groups and economic statecraft actors
  • Process Tracing
  • Mobilisational Power



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