Rowman and Littlefield International
Public Perception of International Crises

Public Perception of International Crises

Identity, Ontological Security and Self-Affirmation

By Dmitry Chernobrov

Part of the series Frontiers of the Political

Publication Date: Jul 2019

Pages 240


Hardback 9781786610034
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook 9781786610041
£24.95 €34.95 $38.99
Not available for pre-order

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




1. Perception and Collective Identity

2. Anxiety of the Unknown and (Mis)Recognition

3. A Positive Self


4. Imagining Others as Different or Similar

5. Drawing from Memory


6. Public Perception of the Arab Uprisings

7. Wider Narratives: From the Arab Uprisings to Ukraine

Epilogue: Perception as a Relation



This book highlights essential factors in political world events which are usually not touched upon by the media. The role of personal and collective identities, the reactivation of shared images of past historical events, and anxiety of the unknown are described and clearly illustrated. For those wishing to make sense of today's international political climate, I highly recommend reading this timely book.

Vamik Volkan M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Virginia

Developing an innovative theoretical framework emphasising the role of (mis)recognition as a means of coping with uncertainty and emergent anxieties, Chernobrov provides a timely and important intervention that fundamentally rethinks the role of perception in public understandings of international crises. For anyone interested in the politics of perception, recognition, emotion and emerging debates about ontological security within international relations, this is a must read.

Christopher Browning, Reader of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

This refreshing and original book persuasively demonstrates that popular understanding of foreign affairs, especially at times of crises, is fundamentally shaped by the public’s own sense of identity, security, and political memory. Exploring Russian and UK perceptions of the Arab Spring, Chernobrov provides excellent evidence that public attitudes of international politics are based primarily on local anxieties, fears, and hopes.

Jelena Subotic, Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University

In this eloquent interweaving of insights from ontological security theory, social psychology, international relations, media and audience studies, Chernobrov offers an empirically grounded and theoretically sophisticated exploration of the intricate relationships between identity, emotion and the perceptions of international others. The distant is domesticated as the societal need for positive self-affirmation shapes the public perception of international events.​

Maria Mälksoo, Senior Lecturer in International Security, University of Kent

Dmitry Chernobrov is Lecturer in Media and International Politics at the University of Sheffield, UK.

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