About Me

Email: dralexgburns@gmail.com

Phone: +61 467 387 241


Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University (2020); 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).



My political science PhD at Monash University (conferred on 29th April 2020) developed a new analytical theory of terrorist strategic subcultures. To do so, it integrates theory-building insights from strategic studies, terrorism studies, and political economy. The PhD uses process tracing and qualitative case study methods to examine Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo as a ‘failed’ strategic subculture.

I blog about my current research program at Vega Theory and have a subscription-based newsletter about politics, terrorism, and political economy.

I have contributed articles to  Contemporary Security Policy, Media International Australia, Journal of Futures Studies, and Media/Culture journals.  I am currently a Senior Grants Officer at The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and an eLearning Advisor with Swinburne Online in the Politics & History team. I have previously held research administration, management, and research positions at The Australian National University, The University of Queensland, Bond University, Victoria University, Swinburne University, and in the Smart Internet Technology Cooperative Research Centre.


I have 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. I edited and wrote for the former Disinformation website (1998-2008), and also contributed articles with original research to 21CREVelationDesktop, MarketingInformation AgeArtbyte, Playboy.com’s ‘Digital Culture’ magazines, and La Trobe University’s Rabelais student newspaper (1994-2004).


Recent Publications

  • Alex Burns. The Development of Strategic Culture in Terrorist Organisations. PhD Dissertation. Clayton, Australia: Monash University, 2020.
  • 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 Culture
  • Terrorism
  • Political Economy
  • Sociology
  • Methodology

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