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Thinking Allowed - The politics of the street

Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2011

The layout of St Petersburg was crucial in turning the discontents of Russians into revolution. Laurie Taylor and guests explore how geography shapes politics

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The Winter Palace, St Petersburg Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: jntolva under CC-BY-NC-SA licence

In 1905 Russians gathered at 6 different points to march on the Winter Palace and the streetscape of St Petersburg contributed enormously to their success.

The Russian poor were cheek by jowl with the rich and this inflamed a class consciousness which - despite industrialisation - the poor suburbs of Europe did much to dissapate.

How does urban geography effect the way societies develop? What have streets given to politics?

As street protests continue to challenge authority across the Middle East and violence characterises the marches in our own capital, Laurie is joined by Leif Jerram, author of Streetlife and John Clarke from the Open University to discuss the role the street in the history of politics.

Take it further

Have an interest in people and society? Discover The Open University course Introducing The Social Sciences.

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Police protect a branch of TopShop during a street protest

How do our streets reflect who we are, and change who we are? Georgina Blakeley takes us on a journey exploring the streets.

This edition of Thinking Allowed can be heard on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 6th April, 2011 at 4.00pm. To listen online, visit

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