Constructing the other: Polish and Russian perceptions of Germany in media and individual narratives

Rohe, Maren (2020). Constructing the other: Polish and Russian perceptions of Germany in media and individual narratives. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Both Polish and Russian national identities have historically been defined by their relation to Germany as an Other. Recent changes in their respective positions in international relations are likely to have had an impact on the perception of Germany in Russia and Poland. Literature on Othering suggests that these perceptions are closely connected to national identity constructions and foreign policy making. This thesis investigates whether and how Germany is still perceived as an Other by Poles and Russians in the late 2010s, focussing on perceptions among university students in Moscow and Warsaw. These individual perceptions are compared to media narratives, in order to establish how individuals make sense of, take up or resist the country perceptions constructed by national media. The thesis finds that the taking up of media narratives is influenced by their resonance with narratives previously established through family, friends, education and culture. Polish participants were more likely to be aware of multiple, contradictory narratives and discuss them controversially, whereas Russian participants tended to present more unitary narratives of Germany and refrained from controversial debates. Thus, different media environments and cultures of debate influence how country perceptions are constructed. The thesis highlights how narratives on various Others (Europe, the US, Muslim immigrants, parts of Polish society) interact with narratives on Germany, creating complex constructions of national identity in both Poland and Russia. Conceptually, it contributes to the study of Othering by exploring forms of asymmetrical, overlapping and liminal Othering.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: University of Birmingham (Institute for German Studies)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations


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