Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett

Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett


I completed a BA(Hons) in German and Linguistics at the University of Leeds in 2013. In 2014, I undertook a part-time, research-track MA in Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield. My MA dissertation, ‘Bündnis 90/Die Grünen through the public/private lens: Conflicted Liberals in a Surveillance Society?’, was the culmination of the MA in September 2016. I returned to Leeds in 2017 for my PhD, an interdisciplinary project between German and POLIS under the supervision of Prof. Ingo Cornils and Dr. Jonathan Dean and generously funded by the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities AHRC competition.

During the academic year 2018/2019, I spent nine months completing the fieldwork component of my PhD. 

In January 2019, I completed a DAAD short research grant as a visiting doctoral student within International Political Sociology at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany.

Institutional Affiliation:

German, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Centre for Democratic Engagement

Research interests

My PhD project: ‘Professionalised Protest? The gentrification of protest within the German Green Party’ looks at the contemporary German Green party’s engagement, and use of, protest. The party itself was originally a protest and ‘anti-party’ party, originating out of various New Social Movements (Environmental, Women’s, Peace, Anti-Nuclear). When they entered parliament in the 1980s, they stated that the movements on the streets should take precedence over their parliamentary members. However, through experiences of governance at both local and national level, the party has professionalised from protest party to an electorally-motivated one. Yet, the party’s continued engagement with protest remains under-researched. I am interested in exploring the Greens from within, using an ethnographic approach to explore the everyday experiences of party activists and grassroots support of party protest action, and evaluate the extent to which party protest can be assessed as having been ‘gentrified’.

My broader research interests include post-war German politics, political culture and protest.



‘The German Greens: a Professionalised Movement Party or ‘Gentrifying’ Extra-Institutional Protest for Institutional Gain?’. ECPR General Conference. (August 2020; virtual)

‘The German Greens: VolksparteiBündnispartei or Opportunists?’. Workshop of the German Politics Specialist Group: The Future of Party Politics – Insights from Germany (November 2019; University of Birmingham)

'The German Greens as 'the Leading Force of the Left-Centre': “Radical" Pragmatism or Gentrified Protest?'. Political Studies Association Annual International Conference 2019: (Un)Sustainable Politics in a Changing World (April 2019; Nottingham Trent University).

'Exploring the party ‘from within’: conducting an ethnography of Green Party Membership'. Ethnography with a Twist (February 2019; University of Jyväskylä).

'Professionalised Protest? The Gentrification of Protest within the German Green Party'. Ninth Düsseldorf Graduate Conference on Party Research (February 2018; Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf).

Blog Posts

Sullivan-Thomsett C. 2019 ‘How Germany’s Green Party took on the far right to become a major political force’. The Conversation. 29th May 2019. Available from:

Sullivan-Thomsett, C. 2018. ‘The German Greens: ‘radically’ fit for office’. Centre for Democratic Engagement. 30thApril 2018. Available from:

Summer Schools

'New Modes of Political Protest: 1968 - 2018'. 2018 Rhetoric and Public Culture Summer Institute (July 2018; Northwestern University).


Cultures of Protest and Resistance: Challenging State and Society in German-speaking Cultures

Politics, Culture and Society

Behind the Headlines: Germany in the 21st Century


  • MA Germanic Studies
  • BA(Hons) German and Linguistics

Research groups and institutes

  • German