Radical Rambos: Analysing the motives behind Australia’s teenage supporters of Daesh

Miss Margarita Dimaksyan1
1Federation University, , Australia

In Australia there have been dozens of arrests and charges laid against people who have committed terrorism offences, including individuals already sentenced and others awaiting trials. Increasingly exploited by terrorist organisations is a version of hegemonic masculinity, whereby fighters are promised respect and heroism amongst their peers by way of enacting typically masculine traits such as violence, dominance and risk taking behaviours. For disenfranchised young men, such an opportunity to be celebrated as a hero may be a particularly empowering motive.

This paper examines a number of young Australians who have been convicted of terrorism offences in recent years, focusing on the role Westernised masculine tropes play in the identity construction of those convicted of terrorist offences within Australia. This paper argues that these young men increasingly embody hyper masculine and ultra-violent norms, evidenced through their discussions of their planned attacks with language inspired by violent action movies and video games. The air of machismo is reminiscent of pop culture figures such as John Rambo, demonstrating that Westernised ideals of masculinity are persistent and adaptable to Islamist ideologies. This paper will use evidence presented at trial to examine the congruence between planned terrorist action strategies and the narrative arc of first-person-shooter video games and violent action movies. Understanding how Western discourses of masculinity influence radicalised individuals is important to understanding the context of radicalisation and terrorism in Australia.


Margarita is a PhD candidate at Federation University Australia. Her research on radicalisation and terrorism in an Australian context is centered on an analysis of 180 Australian residents or citizens who were radicalised or involved in terrorism between 2001 and 2016. This paper will examine a number of cases from the wider sample of 180 individuals.

Policing & Desire

Tallace Bissett2, Dr Peta Malins1
1Rmit University, Melbourne, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

In April 2009, Zacharia Matiang was at home with his friends and family, when police, following up on a report that an ‘African’ boy had stolen some chips, arrived and sprayed them with capsicum spray at close range. More spray was discharged into the house, affecting Matiang’s mother, his cousin, siblings (including a 3 and 4 year old) and his cousin’s three month old infant (Hewitt, 2011; Milman, 2013; OPI, 2011). On a hot January day in 2009, Gemma Thoms, 17, was queuing up to enter a music festival with her friends, when she became aware that police with sniffer dogs were searching attendees for drugs. Having already consumed one of her three ecstasy pills, she hurriedly took the other two, become quickly ill and was transported to hospital where she died the following day (Coronors Court WA 2013).

These two incidents, despite their differences, are part of a much wider story of harmful police engagements with young people. So far, these problems have primarily been conceptualised in legal or public health related terms. In this paper we sketch out how Deleuze and Guattari’s poststructural concept of desire might help us to account for the affective intensity of these events. In our Deleuzian account, desire circulates in policing assemblages, both enabling – and blocking – a range of bodily capacities and affects. Taking account of desire in policing – both in its molar (sedimented, historical, representational) and molecular (chaotic, disruptive, enabling) formations – offers a new lens on persistent policing relations of domination.


Tallace Bissett is a doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne writing about policing of African-background young men in Melbourne. She was brought to this topic through her experience as a legal student volunteer with the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre and as a criminal defence lawyer with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. Despite this legal background, her interest is primarily in telling the stories that criminal lawyers and civil law police accountability actions cannot tell.

Dr Peta Malins is a lecturer in Criminology and Justice Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne. Her research focuses on the unintended affects of drug interventions, with a focus on harm reduction, education and policing. Having previously worked at the City of Melbourne in drug policy and syringe disposal, as an outreach NSP worker, and a volunteer with the DanceWize peer-education program, she is fascinated by the intersections between theory and practice, and the complex connections between bodies, cultural representations and space in enactments of harm. She is currently working on projects regarding school-based drug education, overdose memorials, and drug-detection dogs.

Youth Street Violence Study and Evaluation on F.O.C.U.S. Intervention Strategy in Hong Kong

Mr Chan Man Ho, Wilson Chan1, Ms Siu Chui, Bob Lee1, Ms Ka In Wu1, Mr Fong Wing, Elvis Ng1, Ms Tsz Yau, Connie Au Yeung1, Professor Wing Hong, Eric Chui2

1The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Youth Crime Prevention Centre, 2City University of Hong Kong, Department of Applied Social Sciences

Youth street violence has always been a significant problem across the globe. Violence between youth gangs and triads is also common. In 2015, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Youth Crime Prevention Centre collaborated with City University of Hong Kong to launch a research on street youth violence and jointly developed an evidence-based assessment tool as well as intervention strategy named “F.O.C.U.S.”, which aims at facilitating street youth to learn how to deal with conflicts, thereby preventing and reducing further violent behaviours.

F.O.C.U.S. is a localized, scientific and structured intervention strategy. F.O.C.U.S. represents the five major elements of counseling, namely “Family”, “Optimism”, “Cognition”, “Unity” and “Self-control”, which aims at enhancing the relationship between young people and their family members; facilitating them in managing stress with positive attitude; instilling their law-abiding values; connecting them to various support systems and expanding opportunities for them; as well as enhancing their self-control ability.

Training was delivered to the social workers on adopting F.O.C.U.S. to provide counseling to the street youth. A total of 120 youth who are at risk on street violence have received the F.O.C.U.S. intervention program. An evaluation research was conducted by City University of Hong Kong to assess the effectiveness of the intervention program for at risk youth. Results indicated that F.O.C.U.S. is effective in dealing with street youth violence in four dimensions, including improving family functioning; reducing bullying and violent behaviours; enhancing self-control ability, and changing their attitude toward crime involvement.


Mr Chan Man-ho, Wilson, B.S.W (Hons), Postgraduate Dip. in Psychology, MSocS in Criminology, Accredited Mediator (Hong Kong/China), is currently Supervisor at The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Hong Kong, SAR. He is leading youth at-risk services and having 20 years’ experience on working with young offender, drug addict and delinquent youth. Wilson has a strong linkage with government and non-government organizations in Hong Kong, he is serving as member of Action Committee Against Narcotics for giving advises on anti-drugs issues. He has published books related to youth delinquency, violence, sexual crime, drug issue and cybercrime. Wilson has also been regularly interviewed by media on youth crime issues.

Ms Lee Siu-chui, Bob, is currently unit-in-charge at the Hong Kong Federation of youth Groups, Youth Crime Prevention Centre, Hong Kong, SAR. She has over 25 year’s social work practice experience working with family, children, delinquent youth, drug addict, and young offender. She is a member of Fight Crime Committee in Hong Kong. In addition, she is a social work field-work supervisor and registered as an Accredited Mediator in Hong Kong and China. Bob has published books on youth crime, youth law and drug addiction topics.

Ms Wu ka-in is an Youth Work Officer at Youth Crime Prevention Centre, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Hong Kong, SAR. Her area of expertise are delinquent youth, young offender, crime victim and drug abuser. Ka and her colleagues have obtained numerous funding to develop innovative services to address social issues, such as youth crime, re-offending prevention, drug addiction. She received her Master degree in Criminology and she was earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. In addition, she also a social work field-work supervisor and registered as a Global Career Development Facilitator in USA.

Bringing in the Bystander: Youth Bystander Representations and Sexual Assault Prevention Education

Sarah Whitney1
1Penn State University, Erie, United States

In American higher education sexual assault prevention programs, a paradigm shift from risk-reduction to bystander education is underway.  Galvanized by the Obama administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter admonishing higher educations to prioritize ending gender discrimination and applying Title IX legislation, universities are changing the way students are taught about sexual assault.  Training programs now emphasize the active intervention of the bystander into the potential victim/perpetrator dyad. While the term “bystander” might simply seem synonymous with “witness” or “observer,” in the language of sexual assault prevention it takes on additional meaning, depicting someone who is empowered to disrupt a violent scenario.   Within young adult literature (YA), a growing corpus of bystander novels similarly contend that teenagers who witness sexual assault can make pro-social choices to stop violence.  This project analyzes fictional youth bystanders, focusing upon works based upon real-life American criminal cases.  One, drawn from the Glen Ridge rape case in which a girl with disabilities was subject to group sexual assault, traces the consequences of ineffective (silent) bystanders.  The second, inspired by the Steubenville high school case, in which a group sexual assault was shared widely on social media, features a bystander empowered to seek justice even at her own social cost.  I consider the applied value in including bystander novels in training curricula, arguing they can create empathy, identify scripts within rape culture, and provide pathways and encouragement for young adults to intervene in anti-sexual violence work.

Sarah Whitney is a faculty member in Women’s Studies and English at Penn State University, Erie (The Behrend College).  Her research investigates how women and girls use narrative to depict the trauma of sexual violence.   Her recent book is Splattered Ink: Postfeminist Gothic Fiction and Gendered Violence (University of Illinois, 2016).  Her current book manuscript explores how young adult literature (YA) depicts rape.  Her favorite courses to teach are her criminology seminar, Sexual and Domestic Violence, and her freshman course in Fashion, Gender and Identity.



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