Géopolitique - Institutions

Le Rendez-vous manqué des peuples

Le Rendez-vous manqué des peuples. De l’échec des révolutions populaires aux dérives populistes

Qu’il soit convoqué par les leaders populistes ou à l’œuvre dans les révolutions citoyennes, le peuple est aujourd’hui omniprésent dans l’actualité. De fait, il est devenu un acteur incontournable des relations internationales et ne cesse de défier la puissance étatique. Pourtant, ses aspirations à la liberté, la dignité, l’égalité ont-elles été comblées ? Son sentiment d’humiliation a-t-il été entendu ? A-t-il repris la main sur son avenir ? Rien n’est moins sûr, affirment Pierre Blanc et ...

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Note de veille

Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Confiance, peurs et démocratie en perspective

Pour réfléchir aux futuribles envisageables après l’agression subie par l’Ukraine, mettons en perspective les évolutions actuelles des opinions. Référons-nous à deux enquêtes menées en 2018 et 2021. La première dans 42 pays [1], la seconde dans 55 pays [2], recueillant les opinions de 47 408 personnes en juillet-août 2021. Elle a été effectuée par Ipsos pour Fondapol et six autres think-tanks [3]. Les régimes totalitaires chinois, turc et russe suscitaient déjà, en 2018, beaucoup de craintes. Mais l ...

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Société, modes de vie

Attends-toi à l’inattendu

Attends-toi à l’inattendu

« Théoricien de la connaissance et héros de la Résistance, dissident du stalinisme et infatigable promoteur du “principe espérance”, anthropologue de la mort et sociologue du temps présent, Edgar Morin est un touche-à-tout universel. » Nicolas Truong présente ainsi le penseur centenaire dans le recueil de leurs dialogues publiés par Le Monde entre 2007 et 2022. Ces échanges, auxquels a participé en 2013 Stéphane Hessel, éclairent « le somnambulisme » à l’origine de la situation actuelle. Et tandis qu’un candidat à la ...

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Éducation - Société, modes de vie

Éducation démocratique

Éducation démocratique. La révolution scolaire à venir

Christian Laval, professeur émérite de sociologie, et Francis Vergne, psychologue de l’éducation, nous livrent, dans leur cinquième collaboration éditoriale, leur projet de refondation pour une éducation démocratique. Il se fonde sur le constat déjà développé dans La Nouvelle École capitaliste en 2012 [1] : la massification scolaire a été incapable d’instaurer une égalité des chances effective, et les réponses apportées depuis par l’État (politiques néolibérales, dépolitisation de l’École, technicisation des réponses, etc.) ont été inopérantes voire dangereuses ...

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Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Do Russians Hold Illiberal, Authoritarian Values?

In issue 443 of Futuribles last summer, we published some of the lessons from the latest European Values Study (EVS) carried out in 2017-18. In that article, Pierre Bréchon stressed the — still very marked — differences in values between the various geographical areas of Europe (West/South/East; EU members or non-members; the Nordic countries). In this article, co-written with Myriam Désert, he focuses now on the peculiarities of Russian society, analyzing the findings of the EVS surveys carried out in Russia since 1999 and comparing these with the findings from Europe in 2017. Russians have a reputation for relatively illiberal and authoritarian values, a view bolstered by their support for Vladimir Putin over the last 20 years, but is this reputation deserved?

Bréchon and Désert first remind us of the approach the EVS takes to the notion of democracy and how it surveys for it. They go on to look at Russians’ aspirations for the advancement of a democratic system, recalling in the process how the weight of their history plays into some responses. They highlight the strong nationalist, xenophobic sentiments of the Russian people, but when the objectives they view as important are examined in detail, the article shows that pro-democratic opinions are tending to make headway. And, though not very politicized or much inclined toward protest, Russians aspire to be heard by their leaders. Lastly, the authors turn to the development of social ties in Russia, stressing the correlation that usually exists between the strength of those ties and democratic aspirations: they show, for example, that the breakdown of social bonds in recent decades has played an important role in causing nationalist, authoritarian values to predominate, but that the levers the government previously relied on to consolidate those values are losing a little of their effectiveness on account of the country’s deteriorating social and economic situation. The authoritarian tendency is still largely dominant and movement away from it is very slow, but it does seem to have begun.



What Future for France’s Administrative Constitution? State Action and its Timescales

The originality and strength of the French political model were attributable to the fact that the state rested on two pillars, argues Arnaud Teyssier. One of these was political in essence, the other administrative, providing an “administrative constitution” for which Napoleon laid the foundations. De Gaulle understood the advantage of such a harnessing of the political to the administrative sphere and was keen to restore it after France was liberated, taking the view that democracy was a political matter, politics being subject to fluctuating opinions and inevitable short-termism, whereas the republic owed its strength to a robust standing civil service that embodied the general interest and was capable of long-term thinking, even as it confronted emergencies. Our readers will appreciate that the author, in providing this interpretation, is pleading the cause of a misunderstood civil service that is currently under attack.

If democracy is in crisis and state institutions vulnerable, this is the product, in his view, of the destruction over the last 30 years of this happy equilibrium — particularly the questioning of the “administrative constitution” as a result of an ignorance of its specific nature — and the confusion of roles between the political and administrative spheres. Arnaud Teyssier bemoans the dismantling of a civil service that has been subjected to a twofold criticism: as being both all-powerful and powerless. He advocates the restoration of a state with a dual foundation, one pillar of which is a civil service that upholds institutions and acts strategically. Teyssier’s is a carefully reasoned viewpoint, but one that will inevitably prompt debate.


Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

Is the Ecological Transition Soluble in Citizen Democracy?

With the ‘Great National Debate’ and the ‘Citizens’ Climate Convention’, France’s political leaders have seemed committed, in recent years, to citizen involvement ahead of major political decisions. This is a response, among things, to the various protest movements that have shaken the country — ‘Yellow Vests’, Climate Marches etc. Unfortunately, the political decisions that have followed or flowed from these consultation exercises have not lived up to expectations, an example being the Climate and Resilience Law of August 2021. Admittedly, the Covid pandemic has played its part in this, but as we are thinking, with the much-needed ecological transition in mind, about what post-Covid society might look like, the question of how citizens and political decision-makers come together over these issues is more urgent than ever. In the current context of mistrust, how are we to conceive of an effective citizen democracy?

In this opinion piece, Géraud Guibert asks himself what the real chances are for such a citizen democracy to be successful and, most importantly, for it to be a positive accompaniment to ecological transition. It is important, as he sees it, to be “clear-sighted on this issue”: France still has not found a method for making an ambitious climate strategy acceptable and operational. In his view, if the country is to move in that direction, a number of things have to be made clear: first, on “punitive ecology” (it is essential, but it has to be targeted and explained); then, on the role of science (both in terms of diagnosis and possible solutions); and, lastly, regarding the transformation of the economic system (to take account of the limits of capitalism and develop a logic of the management, protection and pooling of common goods). Once these matters are clarified, an effort will have to be made genuinely to co-build policies and measures to advance ecological transition, and, in Guibert’s view, the Citizens’ Convention seems to offer the best pathway to that goal.


Institutions - Santé - Société, modes de vie

Covid-19: Make Way for an Enlightened Citizenry!

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has now passed through several successive waves, each with its own restrictive measures evolving to cope with the virus, has generated not only anxiety related specifically to the risk of contracting the disease, but also annoyance, doubt, and distrust or even rejection of those in government and their advisers — scientific experts from the medical and other professions. In the context of an epidemic receiving wall-to-wall media coverage in real time — even before the relevant knowledge-base was properly settled — and an environment of constant, unrestrained comment, the citizen is left adrift and struggling to find the right information channels to gain an objective grasp of the situation and the most relevant responses to cope with it. In this opinion piece, Jacques Testart confronts these present-day ‘grapes of wrath’, examining the particular — legitimate — reasons why French citizens may have become dubious and mistrustful about the management of the pandemic by their leaders. He argues for a general, inclusive pooling of effort so that public opinion may be driven by enlightened and enlightening, unbiased information, enabling citizens to participate effectively in decision-making with regard to the crisis (barrier measures, lockdowns, vaccination etc.). As he writes in conclusion, “The aim of the measures we are proposing is to restore the essential trust between population, knowledgeable sources and government by instituting a genuine health democracy.”


Institutions - Population - Société, modes de vie

The Development of Tolerance in Europe: The Contrast between Ethical and Civic Issues

As mentioned in the previous two articles in this dossier on the evolution of Europeans’ values, Futuribles has been interested for many years in how value systems develop and in studying their transformation — particularly from the surveys carried out every 9-10 years as part of the European Values Study. After Pierre Bréchon’s article on the major lessons to be learned from the last round of surveys (2017-18) when compared with earlier ones (1990, 1999 and 2008), and Gilles Ivaldi’s article on the rise of populism, Raul Magni Berton examines the stance Europeans take toward a number of ethical (marriage, sexuality etc.) and civic questions (fraud, corruption etc.), the cultural and geographical characteristics that emerge from this and the broad trends the analysis reveals. In so doing, he highlights a generalized progression towards more tolerance with regard to the behaviour of others, but a twofold division between, on the one hand, the countries of Eastern and Western Europe (with the fact of their being EU members or not adding a further distinct coloration) and, on the other, between ethical issues (where there is greater tolerance) and civic ones (on which intolerance is more evident). Lastly, by comparison with past developments, the trend within the European Union is clearly towards a homogenization of the values of tolerance.


Institutions - Population - Société, modes de vie

Europe: Values Evolving, but Divisions Still as Wide as Ever

For more than 35 years Futuribles has taken an interest in how value systems evolve and in the study of their transformation, regularly reporting on the surveys carried out every 9-10 years in the framework of the European Values Study (EVS) and doing so in close collaboration with Pierre Bréchon. The last round of the EVS was carried out in 2017-2018 in 37 countries and, by comparing it with the 1990, 1999 and 2008 surveys, we are able to see and understand how values have developed over the long term on the European continent. The dossier which we open in this issue with Pierre Bréchon’s article focuses on these main lessons.

After reviewing the methodology of the EVS, Bréchon stresses the — still very marked — differences in values seen in the different geographical zones (Western Europe/Southern Europe/Eastern Europe, both within and outside the EU/Nordic countries), while stressing the essential distinction to be made between the trend toward individualization (desire for autonomy) and that toward individualism (the pursuit of one’s personal interest alone). He then examines the main long-term developments that can be detected, which include a great increase in individualization, particularly in Northern and Western Europe, and a relative decline in individualism (except in Eastern Europe). He also describes the major trends in terms of religious belief, adherence to democratic values, xenophobia etc. Lastly, going beyond cultural and religious variables, Bréchon highlights the importance of sociological variables in value differences, with the better-off generally showing a greater openness to others. Two further articles complete this dossier: an analysis by Gilles Ivaldi of the rise of authoritarian populism and an article by Raul Magni Berton focussing on the development of values of tolerance.

Artisans du futur

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

The Power of Simple Ideas: Attending to Citizen-led Innovation

Since foresight aims, among other things, to feed the mind, so that everyone can actively choose, and not just passively submit to, their future, Futuribles has regularly reported on grassroots projects which show that it is possible to change the course of events. This was, in large measure, the aim of the ‘Architects of the Future’ feature, launched in 2013 and given renewed impulsion here with this article by Antoine Héron which presents three promising citizen initiatives supported by the ICDD association for citizen initiatives and sustainable development.

The first of these, Terrao, is based on setting up systems for energy recovery and air cleaning inspired by the hookah pipe; these are simple, inexpensive, environmentally-friendly technologies that could be easily rolled out across society. The second initiative, Rezo Pouce, is a shared mobility system for rural areas which makes hitch-hiking easy. The third, the Safe Water Cube fountain, is a very simple, inexpensive filtration/water-treatment system to make water drinkable at any point on the planet. These three examples are typically ‘bottom-up’ initiatives and offer easily implemented solutions to societal problems. Unfortunately, as is too often the case, it is not easy for them to be taken up or find backing in centres of political decision-making. Let us hope that the space we are giving them in our pages brings them to wider public attention…


Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Pour un Conseil mondial de la résistance

Pour un Conseil mondial de la résistance

Dans ce bref essai d’une soixantaine de pages, Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, juriste de droit international, propose une analyse synthétique des grands maux de ce monde, ainsi qu’une voie de sortie humaniste et égalitaire. Rappelant les échecs successifs des organisations mondiales à structurer une réponse collective aux problématiques environnementales et de santé humaine, à la pauvreté, mais aussi aux conflits armés qui continuent à ravager certains territoires, elle pointe du doigt les défaillances de cette gouvernance, principalement affaiblie par les ...

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Éducation - Institutions

L’École peut-elle sauver la démocratie ?

L’École peut-elle sauver la démocratie ?

Lorsque deux sociologues passionnés d’École se penchent sur sa santé et engagent un examen prospectif de ses faiblesses, de ses atouts et de son potentiel de ressources, le lecteur assidu de ce style de littérature s’attend à découvrir un discours consensuel où, « thèse-antithèse-synthèse » aidant, la conclusion sera balancée comme cela est souvent le cas dès lors que l’on analyse des données sociologiques sans recours à une mise en perspective. Ici, fort heureusement, François Dubet et Marie Duru-Bellat ...

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Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Le Siècle du populisme

Le Siècle du populisme. Histoire, théorie, critique

« Le populisme révolutionne la politique du XXIe siècle » écrit Pierre Rosanvallon en ouverture de son livre, en remarquant que, malgré l’absence d’œuvre fondatrice pour en élaborer la doctrine, les populismes constituent une véritable proposition politique ayant sa force et sa cohérence, et méritent pour cela que l’on mobilise des outils théoriques pour les analyser et se donner quelque chance de pouvoir leur opposer une « alternative mobilisatrice ». Il commence par en dresser l’anatomie en cinq traits : 1 ...

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Économie, emploi - Entreprises, travail - Société, modes de vie

Alarme, citoyens ! Organisons notre rebond !

Le Conseil économique et social de la région (CESER) Hauts-de-France, présidé par Laurent Degroote, a auditionné André-Yves Portnoff le 25 février 2020, pour qu’il présente les principales recommandations de son dernier ouvrage, coécrit avec Hervé Sérieyx [1]. Nous relayons ici cette communication prononcée devant les quelque 150 membres du CESER Hauts-de-France. Préambule Comme allait le faire le président Macron le 13 mars dernier, Hervé Sérieyx et moi avons souligné, dans notre ouvrage, la nécessité de nous délivrer du modèle ...

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Chronique européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions

The Conference on the Future of Europe

In late 2019, a year when the composition of the main European institutions was undergoing renewal, agreement was reached to set up a conference on the future of Europe, to begin in 2020 and run for two years. That conference, to be organized by the Parliament, Council and European Commission, is among the main commitments made by the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen and aims to strengthen the European democratic process, as it is meant to involve a representative sample of society and thus give European citizens an opportunity to contribute to reforming the European Union. What outcome can we hope to see? What major subjects should be discussed? How can the member states develop the EU’s operation after Brexit? Jean-François Drevet takes a first look here at the areas of work that might be addressed over the next two years by the Conference on the Future of Europe.


Institutions - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Civic tech, données et Demos

Civic tech, données et Demos. Enjeux de données personnelles et libertés dans les relations entre démocratie, technologie et participation citoyenne

Le septième Cahier Innovation et prospective de la CNIL, paru en décembre 2019, vient savamment faire écho à la crise des « gilets jaunes » qui, il y a tout juste un an, en France, a placé au cœur des débats les enjeux d’une démocratie à reconsidérer, à l’heure du numérique et des nouveaux outils de communication et de mobilisation citoyenne. Intitulé « Civic tech, données et Demos », ce cahier s’intéresse en effet aux enjeux liés aux technologies d’échanges ...

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Institutions - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Understanding our Political Nature : How to Put Knowledge and Reason at the Heart of Political Decision-making

Understanding our Political Nature: How to Put Knowledge and Reason at the Heart of Political Decision-making

Un nombre croissant de politiques publiques ont une dimension technique importante (dans les domaines de la santé, de l’énergie, etc.) et le processus de décision politique repose sur une expertise fondée sur des données qui, pour beaucoup, sont issues de la recherche. Le rôle de l’expertise est de plus mis en cause par l’opinion et aussi par des décideurs qui se méfient de la science. Dans ce contexte, le JRC (Joint Research Centre), le laboratoire commun de ...

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Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Alarme citoyens ! Sinon, aux larmes ! Manifeste pour une France « vénitienne »

Alarme citoyens ! Sinon, aux larmes ! Manifeste pour une France « vénitienne »

Voici un livre écrit sans aucune complaisance mais dont les auteurs entendent nous faire partager leur conviction que, si tout va mal en France, une nouvelle renaissance est possible, comme celle qui prit naissance à Venise au XVe siècle sous l’impulsion d’hommes tel Aldo Manuzio, un enseignant devenu entrepreneur innovateur. Ainsi, suffit-il que cet homme passe de l’indignation à l’action, ou, mieux, que des femmes et des hommes décident — personnellement et avec d’autres — de devenir ...

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Note de veille

Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Les Français délaissent-ils vraiment le vote ?

Les débats sur l’abstention constituent un classique des débuts de soirée électorale. Le plus souvent, on y déplore le comportement d’une partie de la population qui ne fait pas son devoir, sans débattre des causes structurelles du phénomène. Quand on y regarde de plus près, la désaffection reste relative. Le fait de ne pas participer au vote peut signifier beaucoup de choses. Quand l’enjeu est présent, les Français se déplacent. Taux d’abstention au premier tour des ...

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Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions

The European Union, Peace and Democracy

In May 2019, Europeans, voting to decide which national representatives to send to the European Parliament, turned out in distinctly larger numbers than for previous elections. The turnout was eight points higher than in 2014, taking it up to almost 51%. It is difficult to say precisely what prompted this level of participation, but as Jean-François Drevet shows here, it seems fair to assume that European citizens are beginning to grasp the space of freedom the European Union represents and are keen to commit to it more.

In many ways, the EU does indeed offer genuine guarantees of peace and democracy. The Celtic nations have been able to see this as Brexit has unfolded, the European Union offering them greater scope for development than the United Kingdom. As a general rule, democracy and the rule of law are preconditions for joining the EU. Once they are members, states are expected to continue to conform to these conditions, with European institutions striving to ensure this as best they can. Lastly, though it still has some way to go in terms of common defence and security, the EU has nonetheless managed to maintain peace within its frontiers, while respecting the sovereignty of the peoples that make it up. In view of – even the recent – past of the Old Continent, this is significant and is perhaps beginning to bear fruit.


Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Towards Democratically Sustainable Expertise?

Expertise plays an essential role today and has done so in French political decision-making for more than half a century, whether in the fields of health, employment, transport or elsewhere. Yet this is highly contested by a growing section of public opinion, as we have been able to see in France in connection with subjects like vaccination or, more recently, during the debates that stoked the gilets jaunes crisis, attesting to a real distrust toward the elites in charge of public policy. How did we reach this point and what might that mistrust lead to if it lasts or worsens?

Daniel Agacinski, who, in his role with France Stratégie, has made a range of contributions to present thinking on the French attitude to experts, outlines the development of this relation to expertise, and also the sociological and historical forces driving it. He calls for a reshaping of the way experts operate, to bring that into line with democracy: we have to “take on board the public lack of trust” and see our way, in response to it, to expanding the circle of experts by bringing in (even non-expert) citizens to make public action as democratic as it can be.


Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Five Major Areas of Work for the 21st Century: On the Deliberations of the International Panel on Social Progress

Five years ago, we saw the formation, under the chairmanship of Amartya Sen, of the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP), a collective of 300 social science researchers from around the world. The aim was to develop multi-disciplinary, non-partisan solutions in response to the major issues our societies currently face. Marc Fleurbaey and Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic, who are members of this collective and have actively participated in the publication of its first deliberations and recommendations, take the opportunity offered by this ‘forum’ article to present the perspectives for 21st century social progress identified by the IPSP.

They describe what seem to them to be the most promising institutional reforms to meet current challenges, targeting five major areas of work: 1) moving beyond the ideologies of the 20th century; 2) reforming the market economy to subordinate it to human needs; 3) transforming businesses to make them vehicles of progress, rather than of value-extraction and exploitation; 4) reforming the state to take it beyond its protective function and place it in the service of individual emancipation; and 5) reforming political life to enhance democracy. To make good on these tasks, they identify a number of actors capable of driving social progress.


Entreprises, travail - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Whistleblowers: an Opportunity for Capitalism?

In France, the law of 9 December 2016 on transparency, defeating corruption and modernizing economic life (the so-called “Sapin II” law) established a juridical framework designed to protect whistleblowers and lay down rules for reporting the facts they reveal. This represents a real advance in the way employees’ relations to their firm’s hierarchy are governed, enabling the general interest to be taken into account. Yet the decision to “blow the whistle” is still not an easy one, even in this new juridical context.

After reviewing the history of the emergence of whistleblowers and outlining the framework recently established in France, Patrice Cailleba stresses the legal obligations of companies in this regard. He shows how whistleblowers face being torn between faithfulness to their own values, loyalty to their employer and a sense of the general interest. However, he also demonstrates how much it is in organizations’ own interests to encourage whistleblowing – particularly at the managerial level. By facilitating such a work of “ethical vigilance” within their organizations, companies, government departments and the like may be said to be contributing to increasing trust in the capitalist system (a trust currently eroded, if not indeed lost).


Éducation - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Une Fraternité à construire. Essai sur le vivre-ensemble dans la société française contemporaine

Une Fraternité à construire. Essai sur le vivre-ensemble dans la société française contemporaine

S’il fallait trouver l’intertitre du chapitre qui exprime le mieux la richesse et la profondeur du monument que constituent ces quelque 450 pages consacrées aux questions vives qui bousculent — jusqu’à sa devise républicaine « Liberté, égalité, fraternité » — la société française contemporaine, je proposerais de garder celui-ci : « l’Histoire s’écrit au présent », p. 121. Car Histoire et mémoire, dans un contexte où vrais déclinistes et faux progressistes se disputent l’héritage du magistère intellectuel des lumières, constituent visiblement ...

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