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 Green Party as ‘the leading force of the left-centre’: ‘radical’ pragmatism or gentrified protest?’. 67th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies. (October 2020; virtual)

‘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).

Media and Blog Posts

BBC Radio 4. 2021 ‘Could Germany go Green?’ The Briefing Room. 22nd April 2021.

Péchy, A. 2021 ‘Eleição dispara sinal de alerta para Angela Merkel’. VEJA. 16th March 2021. 

Sullivan-Thomsett C. 2021 ‘Un escenario fragmentado’. La Razón. 15th March 2021. pp 18-19. 

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. 

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


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

Policy sector

Fawcett Society. 2020 Unlimited Potential: Report of the Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood. (Featuring work as part of WRoCAH Research Employability Project)

Summer Schools

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


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

Research groups and institutes

  • German