K. Ryan Proctor and Richard E. Niemeyer’s recent book Mechanistic Criminology (Routledge, 2019) develops mechanism-based schemas for several criminological theories: social learning, social control, and general strain. The book advances a neopositivist approach to theory-building, theory-testing and causal inference tests. Whilst I drew on cultural criminology understanding of terrorist subcultures and social learning mechanisms in my PhD this book provides new insights that will inform my post PhD research program.
Welcome to my new research program blog, Vega Theory.
My research program is at the nexus of the strategic studies, terrorism studies, political economy and sociology sub-fields. My in-progress doctoral thesis at Australia’s Monash University advances a new analytical theory of strategic subcultures in terrorist organisations, and uses process tracing to examine Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo as a case study.
This blog will advance the new research agenda outlined in my doctoral thesis. In particular, I am interested to further develop a deeper understanding of causal mechanism-based analysis, and to explore the possible existence of strategic subcultures in a range of areas, from other terrorist cells, groups, and organisations to asset management firms and hedge funds. A common theme in all of these examples is how to harness volatility (vega) for strategic advantage.
I also have an interest in developing capabilities for counter-coercion and counterdeception capabilities to deal with fraud, misinformation, and information warfare. This interest draws on my past experience in editing the former subculture search engine Disinformation and in the cultic milieu. In particular, I am looking at insights from interpersonal neurobiology and social neuroscience, and their applicability to identifying causal mechanisms for countering socio-political deception.