Winner of the 2019 Edgar S. Furniss Book Award from the Mershon Center for International Security
How do people make sense of distant but disturbing international events? Why are some representations more appealing than others? What do they mean for the perceiver’s own sense of self? Going beyond conventional analysis of political perception and imagining at the level of accuracy, this book reveals how self-conceptions are unconsciously, but centrally present in our judgments and representations of international crises.Combining international relations and psychosocial studies, Dmitry Chernobrov shows how the imagining of international politics is shaped by the need for positive and continuous societal self-concepts. The book captures evidence of self-affirming political imagining in how the general public in the West and in Russia understood the Arab uprisings (also known as the Arab Spring) and makes an argument both about and beyond this particular case. The book will appeal to those interested in international crises, political psychology, media and audiences, perception and political imagining, ontological security, identity and emotion, and collective memory.
List of Figures
List of Acronyms
PART I: THE DRAWING SELF
1. Perception and Collective Identity
2. Anxiety of the Unknown and (Mis)Recognition
3. A Positive Self
PART II: THE PORTRAITS OF OTHERS
4. Imagining Others as Different or Similar
5. Drawing from Memory
PART III: ENCOUTERING CRISES
6. Public Perception of the Arab Uprisings
7. Wider Narratives: From the Arab Uprisings to Ukraine
Epilogue: Perception as a Relation
Chernobrov’s book is a valuable contribution to the discussion about national crisis perception. The conclusions about the national identity, public opinion, opinion leaders, and the media’s function in public perception of international events seem to me particularly crucial. The advantage of this book is its attempt to show two perspectives of the same event—Russian and Western.