Research

Citations

I have a h-index of 9 and 495 citations to-date (Google Scholar,  2020).

 

Strategic Culture in Terrorist Organisations (PhD Thesis)

My PhD thesis at Australia’s Monash University (conferred on 29th April 2020) develops a new midrange, analytical theory of strategic subcultures. I seek to understand why certain terrorist organisations can persist, survive, and develop a counter-elite. My case study is Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo. I use process tracing and new tests to examine three posited causal mechanisms: cultural transmission, social learning, and folklore. I have published original articles from this research in Contemporary Security Policy and M/C Journal. I have presented at the International Studies Association’s annual convention in Toronto, in 2014, and to the Australian International Political Economy Network’s 11th Workshop in 20209.

 

Research Program

My research program lies at the nexus of strategic studies, terrorism studies, and political economy sub-fields in political science. I study strategic subcultures as mesolevel institutions about the use of force, power projection, and capital accumulation. Strategic subcultures are also stratification vehicles that use cultural transmission, social learning, and folklore mechanisms for status attainment. To develop theory-building I also keep informed on interdisciplinary research in economics, psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. I am particularly interested in insights from meta-theories in evolutionary psychopathology and human life history theory.

 

I have recently launched a new blog called Vega Theory to advance this research program. I also have a subscription-based newsletter on politics, terrorism, and political economy.

 

  • Project 1Terrorist Strategic Subcultures: this project will investigate the possible development of strategic subcultures in historical and current terrorist organisations, and will develop a new data set.
  • Project 2The Political Economy of Stratification: this project will investigate how understanding economic stratification barriers and pathways can facilitate greater social mobility. It draws on the political economy of debt, financialisation, meritocracy, and technology.

Methodologically, I use causal mechanisms, counterfactuals, process tracing, and computational social science for theory integration and empirical case studies. This research agenda is also informed by personal autoethnographic experiences, undergraduate tutoring about politics and foreign policy, and earlier research on theory-testing in internet, journalism, digital media, and foreign policy decision-making.

 

Earlier Publications

I have published on a range of other subjects: the 2000 dotcom crash; the 2000 and 2004 United States presidential elections; the 11th September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States; interviews with United States design, media, and subculture figures; contemporary political and social issues in the United States and Australia; and strategies for grant applications and research program development.

 

Policy Expertise

I have policy expertise in counterterrorism and foreign policy. I have tutored undergraduate units on Australian foreign policy, Australian politics, and critical perspectives on terrorism studies. I have also written  on Australian media, and defence and national security policy, Asia-Pacific security, United States-Australian discourses on the Global War on Terror as grand strategy, and contributed as a civilian researcher to United States debates on irregular and unconventional warfare.