Société, modes de vie

Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)


Institutions - Société, modes de vie

The French Presidential Election of 2017: Freestyle Foresight Exercises

This novel document, published in an election period that is by its very nature highly centred on the moment, contains a series of seven contributions taken from a collective exercise carried out within the Futuribles editorial board.

In order to remove themselves from immediately topical questions, with the 2012 presidential election in the forefront of current concerns, the members of that editorial board were invited to look five years into the future, to the time around the presidential election of 2017. The aim was to compile a set of observations and projections, and also of expectations for 2012, by drawing on some of the prominent writers on that pluralistic board and the positions and opinions existing within it.

The results are visible here in the diversity of angles and styles. The tone and theme were left to the individual writers: seven visions of the future resulted – each to varying degrees amused, disenchanted or troubled. The time-horizon was sufficiently distant to free the mind, yet sufficiently close to permit reflection on the forms of inertia or change (desirable or to be feared) that may characterize the next five years.

Such an exercise is not easy. It can quickly go out of date (as can be seen from certain underlying decisions in drafts that depend on the precise moment of their composition) and may also veer off into fantasy. And yet foresight has always to blend rigour and imagination. These little exercises offer an interpretation, from a particular angle, of the issues of the day.

Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Europe a Victim of Outdated Electoral Rhetoric

By the time this issue of Futuribles comes out, the French presidential election campaign will be in its final stages – the second round of the ballot takes place on 6 May – and a second campaign for the June legislative elections will be about to follow. It is highly unlikely that the tone of this second campaign will differ substantially from the first and provide French electors with an objective view of the opportunities and constraints that ensue from France’s membership of the European Union since, as Jean-François Drevet laments here, all parties, both of right and left, in government or on the political fringes, speak in thoroughly outdated terms in many areas relating to Community policies.

This is no doubt the result of pressure from public opinion, but that in itself is evidence that a certain kind of populism prevails, in which often ill-informed electors are told only what they want to hear. Now, as this column reminds us, France’s scope for manœuvre in the fields most concerned (globalization, debt crisis, migratory flows) is very restricted and it would be lying to the citizenry to have them believe that solutions will come from unilateral action by France or through disengagement from international institutions. Quite the contrary, solutions are to be found in intensified co-operation, particularly at the European level.

Note de veille

Société, modes de vie

États-Unis : des logements plus petits et plus proches des centres ?

Le marché immobilier américain a été l’un des secteurs les plus durement touchés par la crise . Les ventes de biens restent moroses, et les ménages américains modifieraient progressivement leurs attentes vis-à-vis de leur logement. Le logement idéal serait plus petit et plus proche des centre-villes : à l’opposé, donc, du modèle traditionnel des suburbs.

Note de veille

Société, modes de vie

Épidémies de rougeole et réémergence d’anciennes maladies

Tuberculose, coqueluche, gale, rougeole… autant de maladies que l’on croyait disparues mais qui refont leur apparition. Ainsi, depuis 2008, plus de 22 000 cas de rougeole ont été déclarés en France, une nette augmentation en comparaison des années précédentes. La diffusion de cette maladie très contagieuse soulève un certain nombre de questions quant à son origine mais aussi à ses conséquences.

Note de veille

Société, modes de vie

Agriculture biologique : l’offre se diversifie, mais le public se resserre

L’Agence bio vient de publier la neuvième vague de son baromètre sur l’agriculture biologique. Il révèle que le marché des produits issus de l’agriculture biologique a été multiplié par quatre en 10 ans. Mais cette croissance est surtout portée par un nombre limité de gros consommateurs, les consommateurs plus ponctuels paraissant plus réticents à accroître leurs achats de ces produits qu’ils jugent encore trop chers.


Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Nanotechnologies between Fiction and Reality: How Reality and Visions of the Future fit together in the Field of Defence and Security

Starting out from reality and then projecting itself into futuristic universes, science fiction, in both literary and cinematic form, allows us to dream and to have fantasies or nightmares about what the future holds in store. In many works of science fiction, technologies and the perspectives for their application play a key role. The nanotechnologies, with miniaturization playing its part here, offer even greater possibilities for writers and directors to develop their visions of the future. At the same time, scientist, corporations, governments and military institutions are investing time, energy and substantial amounts of money in these nanotechnologies. They themselves are constructing visions of what they may enable us to do in the future, and trying to bring these to fruition.

How are these two types of representation related? This is the issue Bernard Kahane ponders in this article. Drawing on various emblematic novels and films, he begins by showing how science fiction depicts nanotechnologies, before outlining the scientific and technical logics that underlie them. Kahane then turns more precisely to the impact they might have in the field of security and defence (future conflicts, armaments, combatants etc.). Lastly, he studies the specific features of the future visions of, on the one hand, science fiction writers and filmmakers and, on the other, of the economic and social actors involved in the emergence of the nanotechnologies, together with their influence on each other. Unlike the writers, who operate merely at the level of narration, those engaged in nanotechnology research and production are, he argues, “narr-actors” who manipulate, combine and intermingle narration and action in pursuit of their ends.


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

Critical Infrastructures and Cyberwar

The vulnerability of developed societies is not a new notion and has been very clearly set out by, among others, Ulrich Beck. It does, however, acquire new meaning with the increasing extension and interconnection of real and virtual networks. For example, electrical and digital networks play a part today in the operation of almost all other critical infrastructures and systems. This underlines their importance and the issue that protecting them represents in most countries. As Pierre Bonnaure shows here, the Internet is subject to frequent attacks and cyberthreats are increasing, emanating as they do from “hackers” with very varied objectives, whose actions may have major consequences.

Outlining the risks of a cyberwar, Bonnaure shows the strategic character of the battle against cyberthreats and the way people are beginning to face up to them in most of the countries affected by the phenomenon. It is highly improbable that any country will be able to forearm itself totally against cyberthreats and the system risks that ensue from them, but the ability to identify them and fight them when they do become reality is, most certainly, a significant strategic asset.


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

What Future for Frugality? The Example of Cities

Economic crisis, global warming, eco-systems under threat, depleted public finances – the current situation, in Europe in particular, is scarcely favourable to needless expenditure and unrestrained consumption. It is, in fact, gradually becoming accepted that the time has perhaps come substantially to revise our modes of life, so as to consume more intelligently in a world whose limited resources have to be divided between a growing number of individuals. This, writes Jean Haëntjens, may involve recourse to the concept of frugality (producing more satisfaction with fewer resources), a concept that is not new, as is attested by the writings of Epicurus, but which, applied on the urban scale, offers genuine possibilities for establishing new developmental models.

Haëntjens presents the main characteristics of this concept of frugality here. He outlines the main strategies implemented by the pioneering cities in this area. He described what he terms the “palette of frugal options”, namely, the lines of possible action to achieve this end through urban policies. Lastly, he stresses how “frugal cities” might inspire national policies in terms of encouraging new lifestyles – and new styles of urbanism.

Tribune européenne

Économie, emploi - Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

The Franco-German Couple and Budgetary Discipline

Since the creation of the European Community in 1957, the construction of Europe has largely been down to Franco-German cooperation and the capacity of those two countries to overcome their differences to advance the economic and political integration of the continent. However, Jean-François Drevet tells us, this “exemplary cooperation” seems to be running up against its limits in the current context of crisis and excessive indebtedness of the states of Europe. For it is clear that Germany, which made sacrifices to overcome the cost of reunification in the 1990s, intends that today’s debt-distressed European states will do the same, so as not to drag down the entire European edifice with them in their (potential) fall. France, not greatly attracted by the budgetary conception its Rhenish neighbour has of the Union, would prefer the option of a European “economic governance”, allowing considerable scope for the inter-governmental element. However, its economic and budgetary situation, which is far worse than that of Germany, hardly puts it in a position of strength. It is hence a sound bet, concludes Drevet, that the Union will only be able to get out of the economic and political impasse in which it finds itself through an evolution towards federalism inspired by the Rhenish model.

CR table ronde

Société, modes de vie

La mutation des modes de vie

Mettant en perspective des données insolites, Jean Viard montre combien, dans son "Nouveau portrait de la France. La société des modes de vie" (La Tour d’Aigues : éd. de l’Aube [coll. L’Urgence de comprendre], 2012), le visage de la France a changé en un siècle. Les vies s’allongent et la proportion de temps travaillé diminue, laissant la part belle au temps privé et aux loisirs, qui façonnent les normes et les valeurs. Ces nouveaux modes de vie ...

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Analyse prospective

Société, modes de vie

Comprendre la mobilité des Français

La connaissance de la mobilité des personnes est riche d’enseignements sur les modes de vie, d’habitat, d’activité, de consommation… Elle est à la fois la cause et la conséquence de l’organisation des territoires en termes de localisation des personnes et des activités, et des flux de trafic qui en résultent. L’enquête nationale transports et déplacements, menée en 2007-2008 auprès de 20 200 ménages résidant sur l’ensemble du territoire français, permet de comprendre les évolutions ...

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Note de veille

Population - Société, modes de vie

Les Français vivent de plus en plus souvent seuls

La tendance n’est pas nouvelle, mais elle se confirme : depuis 30 ans, la proportion de Français vivant seuls dans leur logement a été multipliée par deux. Ce phénomène s’explique à la fois par des évolutions démographiques et sociales qui se sont accentuées depuis une dizaine d’années. Peut-il se poursuivre ? À quel rythme ? Avec quelles conséquences notamment sur la demande de logements, mais aussi sur celle de produits et services adaptés à ces personnes seules ?


Société, modes de vie

Modes de vie et empreinte carbone

Peu de prospectives sont directement consacrées aux modes de vie et à leurs transformations. On préfère souvent s’intéresser à des sujets considérés comme plus nobles et plus légitimes : climat, énergie, démographie, technologie, croissance économique, aménagement du territoire, ville, géopolitique... Analyser les évolutions des modes de vie est certes ardu, tant cette notion est large, englobante et constituée de phénomènes multiples. Mais, par-delà ces difficultés méthodologiques, le peu de considération porté à cet objet résulte d’une certaine paresse intellectuelle ...

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Analyse prospective

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Les applications mobiles au service de la télémédecine

Le potentiel de la télémédecine suscite depuis quelques années de nombreux espoirs et tout autant de promesses. En effet, le vieillissement de la population ainsi que les progrès médicaux entraînent des besoins toujours plus importants en soins de santé, mais la capacité des ménages et de la Sécurité sociale à les couvrir n’est pas assurée. La télémédecine pourrait permettre de limiter le coût des soins, en remplaçant par exemple la consultation par une téléconsultation (en visioconférence), en favorisant la ...

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Note de veille

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Les achats groupés sont-ils l’avenir du commerce en ligne ?

Le e-commerce se démocratise rapidement en France et dans de nombreux pays. Le commerce en ligne est notamment stimulé par de nouveaux services, tels que les plates-formes d’achats groupés, qui permettent aux internautes de bénéficier de réductions importantes sur certains biens et services. Mais le modèle économique des entreprises d’achats groupés est encore précaire.

Note de veille

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Les besoins des Français en matière d’information sur les risques chimiques, largement insatisfaits aujourd’hui, vont devenir de plus en plus pressants

Moins souvent évoqué que le risque nucléaire, le risque chimique est fortement redouté par les Français. Il se présente notamment sous deux formes : le risque impliqué dans la consommation de produits chimiques et le risque industriel lié aux installations chimiques et aux déchets qu’elles produisent. Les inquiétudes sont fortes sur ces deux aspects du risque chimique, et en particulier en ce qui concerne le risque de nature industriel : la catastrophe d’AZF, entre autres, semble avoir durablement marqué les ...

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Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

GMOs, Assets in a Sustainable Food Supply?

In this issue of Futuribles devoted to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Pierre Feillet offers an analysis of the main advantages of GMOs when it comes to achieving a sustainable food supply for everyone on the planet. Without concealing a number of aspects that remain controversial, Feillet begins by reminding us of the historical process that made it possible, through multiple forms of innovation in agricultural practice and research, to reach the point where plants and animals can be genetically modified. He then outlines the extent, location and nature of GM crops throughout the world (10% of cultivated land), before detailing another highly controversial issue in this area: the presence, within the food chain, of products from animals fed on genetically modified crops. He also recalls the important role played by micro-GMOs in the food industry.

After this overview, Feillet gets down to detail on the contentious issue that is GMPs (genetically modified plants) through three key lines of questioning. Are GMPs dangerous to health? Are there environmental risks involved in growing them? Who profits by them? Lastly, he offers some perspectives for the future of GMOs, taking the view that biologists will continue to optimize and diversify the genetic inheritance of GMOs with the aim of improving the human food supply in the long term and convincing those who are still reluctant to use them (including the French) of their value.


Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

An Experience of Science-Society Interaction: Reinforcing Research by Drawing on Lay Knowledge, Complexity and Commitment to the Long Haul

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been an object of major controversy. For a large section of French public opinion, they have become the focal point of opposition to the manipulation of living material and of the rejection of a certain agricultural model. Yet, from the research standpoint, GMOs can represent one effective means of gaining knowledge of animal or plant life and the study of its interactions with the environment. In this field, as with many technological innovations, the emergence of controversies between science and society highlights the importance of involving the greatest possible number of citizens in decisions and the need to improve the participatory processes by which they can contribute to them. The experiment in which Anne Moneyron, Olivier Lemaire and Jean E. Masson were involved, as part of the process of setting up a GM grapevine rootstock field trial, attests to the rich results that may emerge from the participative construction of a project of this kind.

In order to carry out this trial while remaining responsive to the reactions of society, the general management of INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, set up a Local Monitoring Committee following the recommendations of an interactive technological assessment. This Monitoring Committee involved most of the stakeholders (actors from the world of vine growing and the agricultural trade unions, conservation and consumer organizations, teachers, state representatives in the fields of agricultural development and food safety, and independent vine growers) who, over eight years of work and in a context where the technology was rejected to the maximum degree because of what it symbolized, collectively designed their own format of science-society debate. The research/action programme that has ensued has enabled the initial project to be re-thought and more research to be produced, because it has been based on a more complex set of questions that accords a legitimate role to all the actors. Proof if it were needed that a science-society dialogue is possible, even on such a controversial subject as GMOs.

Tribune européenne

Éducation - Géopolitique - Société, modes de vie

Distortions of History

As a result of the dramatic social consequences they produce, periods of economic crisis are – as history shows – often springboards for the rise of various forms of extremism and of inward-looking movements. It is reassuring, then, to see governments in Europe currently striving to stand together and attempt to face up collectively to the economic setbacks affecting most European countries. Just a few decades ago, national conflicts and resentments were so rooted in people’s minds that, at that time, such cooperation would have been unimaginable. That it exists attests to the work done since World War II to calm those tensions and enable a common reading of recent European history to emerge.

Jean-François Drevet brings this out clearly in this column, so as to forewarn those in Europe – or at the gates of Europe – who might be tempted by a form of historical falsification. After reminding readers briefly of what such falsifications of history have led to in Europe and of the emergence of a more calmly conceived history, he turns to various clarifications he regards as necessary in this area. These relate particularly to two countries which are tempted by a rather skewed reading of their national histories: Hungary and Turkey. He concludes on the importance of every country “coming to terms” with its national history, so that it is not endlessly carrying a hostile baggage that is out of phase with a united Europe.


Entreprises, travail - Société, modes de vie

Simon de Cyrène, Hope and Reality: Innovation for the Disabled

As part of the “Actors’ Words” series of articles launched by Futuribles in 2012, Marthe de La Taille-Rivero offers a stimulating account of a social-innovation venture launched in the mid-2000s by a highly motivated entrepreneur: the building of communal housing for people disabled as a result of head injury. She describes the career-path of Laurent de Cherisey, prime mover both in this particular project and in cocreating the association Simon de Cyrène (Simon of Cyrene) that carried it out, as well as the many formalities that had to be gone through to see it realized – including, in the end, a little “helping hand” from fate in the form of the success of the film Intouchables (Untouchables), which handed over part of its takings to the association. By giving back to these disabled people the opportunity of finding a social life within a town – in contact with other individuals, both disabled and able-bodied, who share housing with them – the association supports them towards potential reintegration, responds to their families’ concerns and, through its activity, promotes other similar initiatives elsewhere in France.


Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

GMOs: the Transatlantic Divorce – Perception and Use of GMOs in Europe and the USA

As can be seen in most of the articles in this special issue of Futuribles on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), there is a marked difference in approach between Europe and the USA with regard to GMOs. What does this difference consist in? What is its origin? Is it set to last? In this article, Bernard Chevassus-au-Louis examines the ins and outs of this “transatlantic divorce”.

He outlines various factors, for example, that may explain the difference in the perception and use of GM plants between the American continent and Europe, focusing mainly on the contrast between the USA and France. He begins by analysing attitudes towards the highly intensive agricultural model that has developed in the two countries since the war, as well as towards the companies involved in supplying seed. He then describes the modes of intellectual protection of plant material established in the 20th century, stressing particularly the divergence between the use and non-use of patents. Lastly, drawing on a distinction between expert and lay assessments of risk, he studies the attitude of citizens towards such risk analyses. Here again, he demonstrates a European specificity, linked, among other things, to the many health scares that studded the latter years of the 20th century and effectively led to the citizenry becoming sceptical of expert assessments. Bernard Chevassus-au-Louis concludes by musing on how these divergences may develop and on the appropriateness of continuing to apply health and environmental risk assessments only to GMOs.


Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

GMOs: The European View

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are undeniably one of those subjects that do not provoke remotely the same reactions in North America as in Europe. Whereas the growing of GM crops is highly developed in the USA and arouses little or no controversy within American public opinion, this is an area in which Europeans are very cautious and even genuinely distrustful. As Daniel Boy shows in this article, drawing on Eurobarometer surveys of European citizens carried out over 15 years or so, there has never been a majority in the EU in favour of the development of GMOs for food production and, between 1996 and 2010, the proportion of those reluctant to see such a development actually increased. Above and beyond this general finding of a clear, sustained opposition among Europeans to GMOs in food, Boy shows the disparities that exist between the various European countries and presents reasons that may account for these differences.

Boy goes on to study the structure of European opinion in this field by sex, age and socio-professional category of the respondents, by their degree of “socialization” to science and their level of informedness. He also notes the importance of the level of knowledge of – and familiarization with – science in the attitude towards genetically modified foodstuffs. Lastly, Boy compares the attitudes of Europeans to GM foods with attitudes around animal cloning and the nanotechnologies, showing the great specificity of GMOs, which have been very distinctly and probably lastingly rejected (like animal cloning), thus blocking the development of this technological innovation in Europe. He nonetheless stresses that attitudes towards other innovations (such as nanotechnologies) in no way point towards similar failures in the future.


Entreprises, travail - Institutions - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

“Responsible” Innovation and Sustainable Development: Producing the Legitimacy of GMOs and their World

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are at the heart of important controversies in the scientific world. But the stakes go far beyond that, as is demonstrated here by Pierre-Benoit Joly. Questions of a more political nature arise, such as what vision of the world one wishes to see prevail in the future, both in the agricultural realm and in the much wider matter of the sustainable development of the planet.

Recalling, first, how regimes of innovation in the plant world have evolved over time, Joly stresses that we have moved from traditional skills and practices to an initial regime of innovation based on state agronomists and seed companies, which has itself evolved towards a “molecular, private, globalized” regime of innovation heavily encouraged by the granting, in the 1980s, of permission to patent living organisms. This has led to agricultural markets becoming tied up to a large extent by a number of major companies and to research being focussed on a small number of species and on GMOs. However, this commitment to GMOs has given rise to much criticism, involving the leaders of the “biotech oligopoly” in a crisis of legitimacy. Hence the efforts made by these parties over several years to legitimate their enthusiasm for GMOs both economically and politically.

It is to this “techno-political” work of legitimation that Pierre-Benoit Joly turns in the second part of his article. Thanks to the privatization of innovation and the globalization of activities, the big biotech multinationals are gradually winning acceptance for their view of the world, by way, among other things, of co-production of the regulation of the risks inherent in innovations (the emergence of a “soft law” lowering the level of mandatory constraint by states) and by intensive lobbying within public institutions and the establishment of “epistemic communities” (networks aimed at bending international law in their direction). Joly shows, lastly, how these players – and particularly Monsanto, which he studies more specifically here – are privatizing the notion of sustainable development in agriculture (by way of ethical charters, for example), so as to make their activities essential to its attainment. This is an “enlistment” operation that is very well described here, though it can still be countered when its workings are properly understood.


Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Science et société

Ce numéro de la revue Futuribles est intégralement consacré aux organismes génétiquement modifiés (OGM) et plus spécifiquement aux plantes génétiquement modifiées (PGM), à leurs vertus et dangers, réels et présumés, à l’exposé des points de vue et arguments de leurs partisans comme de leurs adversaires. Pourquoi avoir choisi de consacrer un numéro entier à cette question ? Parce que le développement et l’usage des OGM soulèvent des questions cruciales mais que le débat est trop souvent éludé ou excessivement ...

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Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

Towards a Genetically Modified World? Possible Applications of the Biotechnologies

The debate that has been going on for several years, particularly in France, on the wisdom of introducing and developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has polarized opinion among the various stakeholders, producing great distrust within the public on the topic and often helping to cloud the issues within the field. This is one of the reasons why Futuribles decided to devote almost all of this March issue to GMOs, hoping thereby to cast light on the ins and outs of this question for its readers by providing very diverse points of view on – among other things – the economic, scientific, regulatory, sociological aspects of the question.

Before going into detail on this enormous range of questions, Cécile Désaunay offers a brief insight into what GMOs are, the state of research into them and the prospects they might open up in the medium-to-long term. After reminding us of the definition of GMOs and the upsurge of research in this area, she outlines the main existing applications and the lines of research that have found most favour with industry (in its aim, largely, of reducing both production costs and the use of pollutants), agriculture, the food sector and medicine. She emphasizes the risks inherent in this biotechnology so far as the environment and human or animal health are concerned, before stressing the obstacles the sector faces and the questions raised by the concentration of research among a handful of big companies. Working from this base and judging in accordance with their own priorities and values, any reader will be able, by referring to the very informative articles in this issue, to appraise the costs/benefits/risks of the large-scale use of GMOs.

Chapitre Société, modes de vie

Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.