Dr Rebecca Pearse

B. Psych (USyd); MA, PhD (UNSW)
Lecturer, School of Sociology / Fenner School of Environment & Society
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 02 6125 8148/2639

Research interests

  • Climate change and energy
  • Inequality
  • Social change and movements
  • Feminist theory
  • Sociology of knowledge


Beck Pearse is a sociologist who joined ANU’s School of Sociology and the Fenner School of Environment & Society in 2020. Her teaching and research focuses on inequalities and environmental policy. Beck’s current projects investigate land and labour relations in the industrial transition to a 'net zero' economy. She is a Chief Investigator on the ARC project Environmental Justice and the Making of Just Food and Energy Policy (Schlosberg, Rickards, Pearse 2020-22).

Beck previously held a teaching fellowship in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, where she was also a Key Researcher at the Sydney Environment Institute (2017-20). In 2019, Beck led the development of the City of Sydney's Equality Indicators framework with James Hitchcock and the Sydney Policy Lab. In 2016-17, Beck was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Sociology at Australian National University, working on the ARC project Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences. Before that she worked as a Research Associate contributing to the The Coal Rush and Beyond and Global Arenas of Knowledge ARC Discovery Projects.

Beck's work is published in environmental policy and sociological journals. Her doctoral thesis was published as a monograph Pricing Carbon in Australia (Routledge/Earthscan, 2018) and documents the regulatory contradictions of Australia's short-lived emissions trading scheme. Beck also co-authored Beyond the Coal Rush (Goodman et al 2020, CUP), a revision of Raewyn Connell's Gender: In World Perspective (3rd edition, 2015, Polity), and an ethnography of climate movement politics with Stuart Rosewarne and James Goodman (Routledge, 2014).

Researcher's projects


The lives and livelihoods of Australia's energy workforce (pilot social study, 2022-2023)

Environmental justice in policy making (ARC Discovery project, 2020-2023)

Rural extension work for sustainable farming (ANU Sustainable Farms, 2021-2022)


ENVS1001/6101 - Environment and Society: Geography of Sustainability. The first year core introduction unit in Fenner School majors, co-convened with Professor Jamie Pittock. Runs every year.

SOCY2022/6062 - Environmental Sociology. Core unit for the Environmental Studies major in Arts degrees. Runs every second year. Run next in 2024.

SOCY2030/6045 - Social Inequalities and Development. Core unit for the Development Studies major in Arts degrees. Runs every year, convened by Zahid Mumtaz in 2023.

SOCY2035 - Cities and Urban Transformation. Elective subject in Arts degrees. Next run in 2023.

Available student projects

Sociology or environmental policy thesis projects.

Planning regional development in Australia's Renewable Energy Zones.
Land in Australia's 'net zero' economy and society.
Careers in Australia's environmental science workforce.

Current student projects

PhD supervision panel member

  1. Rachel England, Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals, Fenner School, ANU.
  2. Inga Koralewska, Abortion resistance in Poland, School of Sociology, ANU.
  3. Alexander Cox, Value and science in environmental markets, Crawford School, ANU.

Masters supervision panel member

  1. Daniel Mugadiwa, Energy transition in Southern Africa, Fenner School, ANU.

Past student projects

Honours and Masters thesis students

  1. Sean Marshall (2022) Communicating 'just transition' in Gladstone, Crawford School, ANU. Masters research project.
  2. Ming Choy (2021) The ACT government's street tree program, Fenner School, ANU. Hons 1. Co-supervisor with Professor Peter Kanowski.
  3. Yan Xia (2020) China's carbon trading experiment, Fenner School, ANU. Masters dissertation.
  4. Eliza Bicego (2019) Temporary migrant labour in Australia's abbatoirs, Political Economy Department, Sydney University. Hons 1.

Coursework research project students

  1. Yeong Yu (2022) Environmental justice and Victoria's fracking ban, School of Sociology, ANU.
  2. Yolana Truscott (2022) Inter-species justice and live export policy, School of Sociology, ANU.
  3. Olivia Stansfield (2022) Institutional capacities and flood mitigation in six councils, Fenner School, ANU.
  4. James Hickson-Doyle (2021) Food sovereignty in Australia's settler economy, Fenner School, ANU.
  5. Joshua Walker (2020) Imaginaries of Green New Deals during the GFC, School of Sociology, ANU.
  6. Bryon Dexter (2020) The political resilience of carbon farming in Australia's climate policy regime, School of Sociology, ANU.
  7. Viswanda Modali (2020) Large-scale solar development in India, Fenner School, ANU.
  8. Caitlin Pienaar (2019) Academic research labour and Google Scholar, Political Economy Department, USyd.
  9. Wynston Lee (2019) China and Australia's waste crisis, Political Economy Department, USyd.
  10. German Ricci (2019) The IMF in Argentina, Political Economy Department, USyd.



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  02 December 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers