Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett joined UEA as a Senior Research Associate in the School of Environmental Sciences in August 2022. As a qualitative political scientist, she is interested in understanding the experiences, beliefs and motivations of those engaged in 'politics' broadly conceived: from individuals campaigning for individual action on climate change through street protest, to party member activism, to the actions and decisions of MPs in parliaments.
Following the completion of her PhD on the political style of the contemporary German Green Party and its members in 2022, she is now a member of the ESRC-funded Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) at UEA. In this role, her current research focuses on exploring German and UK politicians’ understanding of public perceptions of climate change and how it influences their role in enacting climate policy. This work feeds into CAST theme 3.5 ‘government-led change’ and also contributes to the ERC-funded project Deep Decarbonisation: The Democratic Challenge of Navigating Governance Traps. It involves conducting semi-structured, elite interviews with national level MPs in the UK and Germany to produce rich, qualitative data on the key decision makers on climate policy.
Alongside her PhD, Chantal has used her research and academic skills across a wide range of contexts:
- August 2019: White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) researcher employability project at the Fawcett Society - Telephone interview research on parents' experiences of early childhood gender stereotypes
- September 2019 - May 2022: Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Leeds
- January to May 2021: Hourly Paid Lecturer in German Politics at Nottingham Trent University
- March - Jun 2021: UKRI Policy Internship at the Department for Work and Pensions - Literature review on financial analysis
- September - December 2021: Junior Fellowship on the Elisabeth List Fellowship Programme for Gender Research, University of Graz - completing an interdisciplinary project with Professor Ingrid Sharp to apply contemporary feminist foreign policy concepts to the work of transnational women's peace organisations during the First World War
She has also provided media commentary on the German Greens since 2019, writing for The Conversation and appearing on BBC4's The Briefing Room in 2021. She is currently a co-convenor of the PSA specialist group on German Politics.
Key Research Interests
1. Climate politics
- the role of national-level politicians
- the impact of civil society action on institutional discourse
2. Climate policy
- impact of institutional differences (majoritarian vs proportional parliaments)
3. Interaction of institutional and extra-institutional politics
- discursive similarities and/or different interpretations of environmental issues
- linkages between party and protest activists