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Thomas (Tom) D. Beamish

Education

  • Ph.D., Sociology, UC Santa Barbara, 1999
  • M.A., Sociology, UC Santa Barbara, 1992
  • B.A., Sociology & Social Psychology, Western Washington University, 1990

About

Professor Tom Beamish’s studies began at UC Santa Barbara where he researched the petroleum industry for nearly a decade while in the Department of Sociology and at the Ocean Coastal Policy Center, Marine Sciences Institute. In 1999, having completed his dissertation on a massive oil spill disaster (published as a book titled, Silent Spill: The Organization of an Industrial Crisis. MIT Press), he then took a post-doctoral fellowship at UC Davis, helping to lead a research team studying the slow and uneven adoption of “green” technologies in the commercial construction sector while at the Institute of Governmental Affairs and the Graduate School of Management. After the post-doc, in 2001 Beamish joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia. Soon thereafter, in 2003 he then joined UC Davis’s Department of Sociology. Professor Beamish’s research interests and publications focus on environmental hazards and risks; social and community movements; organizations and the economy; and science, technology and innovation studies. He has recently completed his second book, titled Community at Risk: Biodefense and the Collective Search for Security (Stanford University Press). This book focuses on and compares local community based civic politics in three different communities surrounding a controversial and risky government led biodefense proposal. Finally, professor Beamish has researched and written extensively about organizational and institutional aspects (and impediments) to “green” innovation(s) and regarding metropolitan level governance in California as the state has responded to urban growth and climate change.

Research Focus

Professor Tom Beamish’s research interests and expertise includes a focus on Risks, Hazards, & Environment; Community Politics and Social Movements; Institutions, Organizations, & Economy; and Science, Technology, & Innovation Studies. As an environmental and organizational sociologist, and as a sociologist of risk, Professor Beamish’s research has generated two books and many papers published in leading journals. Throughout his career, within these broad areas of interest, Professor Beamish has focused on the collective construction of rationality and how group or situated memberships shape interpretation, expectations, and preferences in ways that result in profound social and material consequences. “Memberships” – reflected in the places people live, the formal and informal groups and organizations that people belong to, and the social categories and identities people are given or with which they self-identify – always involve the intersection of institutions, organizations, and interpretive work that gives rise to distinctive “collective rationalities.” For instance, in his first book he focused on the social and organizational responses to an oil spill disaster titled, Silent Spill: The Organization of an Industrial Crisis (MIT Press). In his second book, titled, Community at Risk: Biodefense and the Collective Search for Security (Stanford University Press), he compares local community based civic politics in three different communities surrounding a controversial and risky government biodefense proposal. Professor Beamish has also researched and written extensively about organizational and institutional aspects (and impediments) to “green” innovation(s) and regarding metropolitan level governance in California as the state has responded to urban growth and climate change. Professor Beamish has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the California Energy Commission, a UC Toxics Research and Teaching Fellowship, and the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation

Selected Publications

Books 

Beamish, T.D. (2015) Community at Risk? Biodefense and the Collective Search for Security. Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, CA.
Beamish, T. D. (2002) Silent Spill: The Organization of an Industrial Crisis. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Articles

Beamish T. D., & Biggart, N. W. (Forthcoming) Capital and Carbon: The Shifting Common Good Justification of Energy Regimes. Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 
Beamish, T.D., Niemeier, D. A., & Grattet, R. (Forthcoming) Climate change and legitimate governance: Land use and transportation law and policy in California. Brooklyn Law Review. Volume 82, Number 2. 
Niemeier, D., Grattet, R., & Beamish, T. D. (2015) Blueprinting for climate change? When promise of regional transportation and land use planning outruns performance outcomes. Environment & Planning C: Government & Policy. Volume 17, pp. 1600-1617.
Beamish, T. D., & Luebbers, A. J. (2009) Alliance-building across social movements: Bridging difference in a peace and justice coalition. Social Problems. (2009) November, Volume 56, Number 4.
Beamish, T. D. (2007) Economic sociology in the next decade and beyond. American Behavioral Scientist. Vol. 50, No. 8, 993-1014.
Beamish, T. D., & Biggart, N. W. (2003) The economic sociology of conventions: habit, custom, practice and routine in market order. Annual Review of Sociology. Volume 29, pp. 443–64.

Teaching

Professor Beamish teaches courses at UC Davis in Sociology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels focused on Society and Environment (SOC295 & SOC160), Collective Behavior/Collective Action & Social Movement (SOC148), and Organizational Studies (SOC180A). 

Awards

2015 Dean's Innovation Award for exceptional innovation in research and scholarship, College of Letters and Science, Division of Social Sciences, University of California, Davis.

2014 Mentoring Award, Mentorships for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters, and Science (MURALS). Office of Student Affairs, College of Letters and Science, University of California, Davis.

2012/2013 Environmental Governance and Climate Change.(Co-organizer w/ Debbie A. Niemeier and Ryken Grattet) National Science Foundation, Grant Number #1244252, Law and Social Sciences Directorate, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.

2005-2009 Grant recipient, “Biosafety or Biohazard: Organizational Pursuit and Community Response to a Safety and Preparedness Initiative.” National Science Foundation. Grant Number #0509812, Division of Civic, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation, Subsection Infrastructural Systems Management and Hazard Response, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.

2003-2005 NSF Fellow, Hazards and Disaster Research Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA. (see http://www.ncsu.edu/project/nextgen/)

2004 Excellence in Education Award. Associated Students, Academic Affairs Commission, University of California, Davis.

2000 Best Dissertation of 2000, “Silent Spill.” Dissertation Competition, Organizations and the Natural Environment, Academy of Management.