Research

Independent Research Program (2020-Present)

 

My independent research program lies at the nexus of strategic studies, terrorism studies, an political economy. I communicate this via an Academia.edu public profile and a  Substack research newsletter.

 

I use causal inference and process tracing methods to investigate how extremists, terrorist organisations, and nuclear weapon equipped nation-states develop beliefs and capabilities about the use of force to target defence, government, and civilians. In particular, I explore the role of three interrelated causal mechanisms: cultural transmission, social learning, and folklore. I situate these developments in a neoliberal political economy that creates the dynamics for contestation, stratification, and different visions for a possible post-capitalist world. I work on several research projects that include:

 

  • Analysis of the different generations of strategic culture research that provides new historical evaluation of the first generation and its think tank genesis (in the late Cold War), and that develops a new research program for the current fourth generation in the wake of the Russo-Ukrainian War (2022-present).
  • Analysis of unfolding geopolitical changes, and an extension of strategic culture frameworks to examine the role and impact of central banks and unconventional monetary policy, hedge funds, shadow banking, and tax havens.
  • Cultural transmission analysis of extremist ideas that emerged in the fin-de-siecle period (1890s) and the interwar period (1920s and 1930s) that now resonate with contemporary movements.


PhD Dissertation: The Development of Strategic Culture in Terrorist Organisations (2011-2020)

My PhD dissertation at Australia’s Monash University (conferred on 29th April 2020) developed a new midrange, analytical theory of strategic subcultures. I sought to understand why certain terrorist organisations can persist, survive, and develop a counter-elite. My case study is Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo. I used 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 (2020) and 12th 2022) Workshops.

 

Earlier Publications (1994-2015)

Prior to completing my PhD in 2020, 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.

 

Citations

I have a h-index of 9 and 556 citations to-date (Google Scholar, 13/09/2022).

 

Policy Expertise

I have policy expertise in counterterrorism, foreign policy, and internet regulation. 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 strategy formulation for irregular and unconventional warfare.