Research

Independent Research Program (2020-Present)

 

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

 

My research focuses on developing new multilevel frameworks for understanding mesolevel institution dynamics called strategic subcultures. In particular, I focus on possible strategic subcultures in terrorist organisations and in developing effective deterrence strategies.

 

I use process tracing, counterfactuals, and qualitative comparative analysis methods to examine cultural transmission, social learning, and folklore mechanisms. My independent research program has policy applications in counterterrorism, counterproliferation, defence and national security strategy.

 

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 Workshop in 2020.

 

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 545 citations to-date (Google Scholar, 4/03/ 2021).

 

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.

 

Initiatory Experience

 

Since the early 1990s, I have explored as a journalist and researcher a range of initiatory experiences that include the Gurdjieff Work, the Temple of Set, and Chan and Rinzai Zen meditation practices. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was also active in the Spiral Dynamics community with both Don Edward Beck, and Christopher C. Cowan and Natasha Todorovic-Cowan. This initiatory experience is personal, lawful, involves consenting and informed adults only, is non-prosyletic, and is respectful of others’ beliefs, values and worldviews. Selected historical documents are available in my Academia.edu public profile for research purposes.