I. V. Samarkina, A. T. Atanesyan  pp. 109-129

Abstract. The article presents the results of a comparative research on how Russian and Arme-nian youth perceive Europe. The research is aimed at determining the role of geopolitical images in national and state identity shaping, as part of the politics’ subjective space. The study of the subjective space components is based on the model of social perception which takes into account peculiarities of political (geopolitical) objects’ perception. The main strategy in collecting and analyzing the data is the qualitative research strategy that allows the authors to reveal the con-tent of the observable image with the help of social and psychological methodology. The com-parative approach used in the research has made it possible to reveal the general and the special in the content and the functions of the geopolitical image (the image of Europe) as part of the politics’ subjective space. The novelty of the authors’ findings consists in identifying the mech-anisms that generate the components of the politics’ subjective space (i.e. conceptions with re-gard to one’s own country, geopolitical images, national and state identity) and in demonstrating how they interact. It is shown that the image of Europe functions as significant Other on the political map of Russian and Armenian young people. Objective, subjective and communicative parameters of Europe’s image perception are singled out. It is shown that Europe is perceived as a multilevel, complex, cognitively diverse and ambivalent space which includes socio-cul-tural, political and socio-economic aspects. The structure of Europe’s image with its core and periphery is described. Europe’s place within the system of other geopolitical images has been located. Disassociating and integrating factors which determine Europe’s place as Other within the system “Us-Them” are described. The research has revealed the specificity of Europe’s and the Europeans’ image perception by Russian and Armenian youth that unveils different mani-festations of their interest in Europe within the frameworks of trivial and professional cognition; it has also dwelt upon the multiplicity of views and a variety of attitudes towards Europe and the Europeans; besides, it analyzed similarities and differences in judgments and opinions of young residents of Erevan and Krasnodar in relation to the explored phenomena. It is shown that the image of Europe in both countries performs a very important function of the Significant Other in shaping the national and state identity. The research has revealed the positive / neutrally posi-tive attitudes in relation to Europe dominating in youth environment; peculiarities of the young Russians’ attitude to Europe have been emphasized. The ascertained = models of the way Europe is perceived by the young people of both countries (We are Europe; We are not Europe yet; We are a unique cultural space) and the pithiness of the models are described in detail.

Keywords: subjective space of politics, political map of the world, Europe, Russia, Armenia, national and state identity, significant Other