Dr Rebecca Pearse

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


Beck Pearse is a sociologist with a background researching the political economy of climate and energy policy, inequalities and rural issues. Beck’s current research projects investigate labour and land relations in the industrial transition to a 'net zero' economy. She's interested in how people work and negotiate change.

Before joining the ANU, Beck was a teaching fellow in the Political Economy Department at the University of Sydney (2017-2020). And before that she worked on a string of casual teaching jobs and ARC Discovery Projects as a research assistant / associate (2010-2016) while writing a PhD. Working in those classrooms and research teams gave Beck essential training on the job, particularly in reading with curiosity across different disciplines, ethnographic fieldwork and interviewing.

Beck's doctoral thesis was published as a monograph Pricing Carbon in Australia (Routledge/Earthscan, 2018) and documents the regulatory contradictions of Australia's emissions trading scheme. Beck has co-authored reports for UN Women (with Raewyn Connell, 2014) and the City of Sydney (with James Hitchcock, 2019) on gender and urban inequalities respectively. She also contributed to a comparative study of coal in Australia, India and Germany led by James Goodman - The Coal Rush and Beyond (CUP, 2020) and to an ethnography of climate movement politics (Routledge, 2014) with James Goodman and Stuart Rosewarne. More recently, Beck contributed to Renewables and Rural Australia (2022) - the first social study of rural people's perspectives on the NSW Renewable Energy Zones.

Researcher's projects

Lives and labour of Australia's energy workforce (2022-2024)
History of land in Australia and NZ climate policy, 1990-2010 (2023-2024)
Environmental justice in 'net zero' policy making (2020-2023)


Current student projects

Honours supervisor

  1. Callum Dargavel, Re-regulation of Australia's energy sector in transition, PPE Honours, ANU.

PhD panel chair

  1. Joshua Walker, Indonesia's electric vehicle supply chain, School of Sociology, ANU.
  2. Andreas Alexandra, Movement strategies and future imaginaries, Fenner School, ANU.

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) How environmentalists communicate '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. Lachlan Rankin (2023) AGL's corporate strategy amidst energy transition, School of Sociology, ANU.
  2. Adam Gottschalk (2023) Aesthetic politics of windfarm development in the Southern Tablelands, School of Sociology, ANU.
  3. Yeong Yu (2022) Interest groups and Victoria's fracking ban, School of Sociology, ANU.
  4. Yolana Truscott (2022) The Australian state and live export controversy, School of Sociology, ANU.
  5. Olivia Stansfield (2022) Institutional capacities and flood mitigation in six councils, Fenner School, ANU.
  6. Alexander Cox (2021) Social theories of ignorance in environmental management, Crawford School, ANU.
  7. Luka Mijnarends (2021) Inequalities and rural landcare, School of Sociology, ANU.
  8. James Hickson-Doyle (2021) Food sovereignty in Australia's settler economy, Fenner School, ANU.
  9. Joshua Walker (2020) Imaginaries of Green New Deals during the GFC, School of Sociology, ANU.
  10. Bryon Dexter (2020) The political resilience of carbon farming in Australia's climate policy regime, School of Sociology, ANU.
  11. Viswanda Modali (2020) Large-scale solar development in India, Fenner School, ANU.
  12. Caitlin Pienaar (2019) Academic research labour and Google Scholar, Political Economy Department, USyd.
  13. Wynston Lee (2019) China and Australia's waste crisis, Political Economy Department, USyd.
  14. 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:  18 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers