Maren Rohe

rohe-marenConstructing the Other: Russian and Polish Narratives on Germany between individuality and media influence

Supervisors: Dr Sara Jones and Dr Julian Pänke

Maren’s research investigates how individuals in Poland and Russia form perceptions of Germany. Many studies exploring perceptions of Germany in these countries focus on media narratives, pointing out how these are aligned with political elites’ ideologies. However, it is not clear from the research what impact the media have on individual country perceptions. In particular, the effects of different media systems on the reception of these media narratives by individuals are not known. It can therefore not be assumed that media narratives in Poland and Russia, for example, represent popular country perceptions in the same ways. In order to investigate individual perceptions of Germany and the way individuals make sense of media narratives, Maren conducts focus groups and narrative interviews with small groups of Poles and Russians, as well as a media analysis. This contributes to a better understanding of the formation of country perceptions in open and closed societies. Such an understanding of how country perceptions are formed is important for understanding the construction of national identity and its impact on international relations.


Maren completed a BA (cum laude) in European Studies at Maastricht University (The Netherlands), which included an exchange semester at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Rennes (France), as well as an MA in the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Programme Euroculture – Europe in the wider world, at the University of Göttingen (Germany) and Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland). Her MA thesis is called "Change through Exchange? Belarusian students in Germany and their perceptions of Europe".

After graduation, Maren worked for the University of Bonn (Germany) and the German Academic Exchange Service before coming to the University of Birmingham in April 2015 to start her PhD focusing on the perceptions of Germany in Poland and Russia.


  • BA European Studies, Maastricht University
  • MA Euroculture, University of Göttingen and Jagiellonian University, Krakow (double degree)

Research interests

  • Concepts of national and European Identity
  • Identity Politics
  • European integration
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • Democracy and democratisation
  • Discourse and narrative analysis
  • Media reception

Other activities

Maren has worked as a project assistant and later as research associate for the Institute for German Studies (IGS) in the research projects “(Not) Made in Germany? Imagining Germany from the Outside” (2015-2017) and “Global Crises” (2017), and will be a co-investigator in the new IGS research project “Shifting Constellations: Germany and Global (Dis)Order” (2019 - 2020).

Maren was a committee member of the Graduate Centre for Europe from 2015 to 2017, and served as its co-chair in 2016/2017.

At University of Birmingham, Maren has taught in the modules “Twentieth Century Russian Politics” and “International Politics and Security in Russia and Eurasia”. From 2018, she is teaching at King’s College London in the modules “Politics of Central and Eastern Europe” and “Foreign Policy Analysis”.


“Germany between Europe and the West: a reconstruction of Russian narratives”, German Politics and Society [under review].

“Perceptions of Germany in Russia: Evidence from Narrative Interviews with Moscow University Students”, Uptake Working Paper, 2018. Available at

“Democracy in Belarus: Beyond binary divisions”, Belarus Project blog, November 2013.

“'Generationengerechtigkeit' – Die Verwendung und Etablierung des Begriffes in den Medien und im politischen Sprachgebrauch [Intergenerational justice – usage and establishment of the term in media and political discourse]”, with J. Tremmel and K. Pöllmann, Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen, 2008.

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