To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Parable of the Lions Bridge: Potentials for Mutual Learning between Cultures of Contamination

Cultures of Contamination

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1371-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-460-7

Publication date: 16 May 2007


Four cast iron lions guard the charming Lions footbridge crossing St. Petersburg's Griboedov Canal. The first author strolled across the bridge on an August evening in 1998 with a Russian friend, Polina. The experience presents a parable for concluding this volume:As we crossed the bridge in the dark, we barely avoided stepping into a gaping hole in the deck half way across. A person could easily fall through. I reacted as a typical American, immediately taking responsibility for doing something about the problem, looking for some board to place over the hole or a barrier to warn pedestrians or someone to report the hazard to who would address it promptly. Polina indicated that no Russian would make such a fuss, and she could think of no one to report the hazard to who would respond. As we stood discussing this problem before two of the guardian lions, a group of drunken soldiers began to cross the bridge from the far side, arm in arm, singing loudly. Sure enough, one slipped through the hole and, but for his comrades holding his arms, he would have plunged into the canal. Surely they will report it, I said, but Polina was doubtful. She saw little chance for some protective action to fix the bridge or even to warn passers-by to beware. We went on our way mindful of the problem left behind. Perhaps a month after my return to the U.S., I received an email from Polina that she had gone to the bridge and, to her surprise, it was fixed. “Perhaps,” she wrote, “there is hope for Russia after all.”


Edelstein, M.R. and Smirnova, L.V. (2007), "The Parable of the Lions Bridge: Potentials for Mutual Learning between Cultures of Contamination", Edelstein, M.R., Tysiachniouk, M. and Smirnova, L.V. (Ed.) Cultures of Contamination (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 465-492.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited