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Benjamin Thomas

Doctoral Researcher,

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Biography

Benjamin is a Doctoral Researcher in the School of Politics and International Relations. His research project examines the process of ideological transformation by examining the normalisation of neoliberalism in centre-right parties in the UK and West Germany. To examine the process of ideological change he focuses on the conceptual changes that legitimised a previously insurgent neo-liberalism into part of the centre-right canon.

Prior to his PhD, Benjamin studied for an MA in Social Research at the University of York and a BSc in Government from the London School of Economics. For those degrees he wrote dissertations on the drivers of party change in the post-war Conservative party, and the varieties of corporatism between Fascism and Christian Democracy respectively.

Twitter: @BenJThomas_

Expertise Summary

  • Political Ideologies
  • History of neo-liberalism
  • Centre-right political thought
  • German politics
  • American politics
  • Begriffsgeschichte / Conceptual history

Teaching Summary

Benjamin is an Associate Fellow of the HEA

Benjamin has previously taught on

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Introduction to Political Theory

Research Summary

Benjamin's project seeks to bring together studies of conceptual change with studies of ideology. While conceptual approaches to ideology are well established and have developed a comprehensive… read more

Selected Publications

'Political Thought in Political Parties: Examining ideology in social institutions' University of Essex Department of Government HEROEs PhD Colloquium, 18.11.2020

'Intra-Party Contestation: Ideological Transformations and Neoliberalisation' 1st Graduate Conference in Intellectual History, European University Institute, "Transcultural Conversations", 23-24.01.2020

'Ideological Transition: Conceptualising centre-right neo-liberalisation in post-war West Germany' German Historical Institute London 2020 PhD Student Conference, 09-10.01.2020

'Refraction as a model for neoliberalisation' EuroStorie, University of Helsinki, "Liberalism: Historical and Contemporary Variations", 24-25.10.2019

'Refraction as a Model for Conservative Neo-liberalisation' PSA Conservatism Studies Workshop, 13-14.07.2019

'Neo-liberalisation as Refraction: Ordoliberalism, Social Market Economy and CDU ideology' The Association of Business Historians Tony Slaven Doctoral Workshop in Business History, 04.7.2019

'Neo-liberalisation as Refraction: Ordoliberalism, Social Market Economy and CDU ideology' Nottingham Postgraduate Conference in Politics and International Relations, 20.6.2019

'Refraction as a model for conservative neo-liberalisation' University of Birmingham Government and Society 2019 Postgraduate Conference, 29.4.2019

'Conservatism in the Age of Neo-liberalisation' COST Action CA 16211 RECAST "Critiques of Liberalism and Challenges to Democracy: Understanding the Conservative Standpoint", 14.-15.2.2019 in Pilsen (CZ)

'Populism and Partisanship: Theoretical Insights for Germany' PSA German Politics Specialist Group Workshop "German Politics in Times of Populism", 17.11.2017

Current Research

Benjamin's project seeks to bring together studies of conceptual change with studies of ideology. While conceptual approaches to ideology are well established and have developed a comprehensive approach to contextually contingent ideology, explaining the process of change from one realised conceptual moment to another is a gap in the literature. To address this gap, the project examines neoliberalisation in centre-right parties to determine whether there is a general process of ideological transition.

Neoliberalisation of centre-right parties is an established phenomenon in the literature but looking at this process comparatively, considering different national traditions, party families, forms of neo-liberalism and chronologies allows the analysis to extend beyond a limited context. The Conservative Party and the CDU have different starting and ending points ideologically, whether the process of transformation is similar is the focus of the study. This project also presents consideration of the role of parties in ideological co-construction.

Supervisors:

Mathew Humphrey

Andrew Denham

School of Politics and International Relations

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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