Société, modes de vie
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
This is an extract from the famous article by Fernand Braudel, "The History of Civilizations: the Past explains the Present", originally published in 1959 in the Encyclopédie française and reprinted in Les Ambitions de l'histoire (Paris: éd. de Fallois, 1997). This text seemed to us to offer many insights into the endurance of civilizations, their great diversity and ability to survive in spite of the spread, in particular via technology, of the Western model of development. In addition, Braudel makes some useful remarks about the difference between civilizations and cultures.
Jean-François Mayer describes here the main religious trends and the prospects for the future linked to them, in particular offering several scenarios for what may occur between now and 2037. First he looks at the main religions against the background of globalization, then he shows how much the situation has changed with regard to the ability to multiply and spread religious messages (thanks in particular to the new communications technologies), and how far religions - which for a while had appeared to be in decline - are now enjoying a revival. Islam, Hinduism, Evangelical Christianity, etc.: whether or not they are political, these religious movements are very much alive and continue to attract new members, but they are transforming themselves and are continuing to evolve under the growing influence of individualization, which is affecting or will eventually affect the whole world.
The author also examines who the new religious activists are likely to be in the coming decades, stressing the probable emergence of new currents within all the existing religions (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.) though they will lack real political clout at the global level. He wonders about the capacity of the religiously minded to bring greater unity to culturally homogeneous regions (with the inherent risk that this might lead to a clash of civilizations), and suggests that only Islam could hope to do so but that the obstacles connected with national realities make such a scenario highly unlikely.
All in all, according to Jean-François Mayer, religious belief will remain strong, probably accompanied by an acceptance of greater variety on the part of those actively involved. Competition is likely to continue and religious movements will go on diversifying, but without any single religion dominating the others.
For this special issue on the future of relations between cultures, François Zabbal focuses on the relationship between the Arab/Muslim world and the West.
He starts by tracing how anti-Western sentiments grew up in the Arab world, first during the Cold War and the period of East/West tensions, then in the specific context of the aftermath of September 11th 2001. In particular, he shows that the roots of Arab hostility to the West (above all the United States) is not a recent phenomenon, and while it is true that such feelings have been strengthened in response to the way that the Islamic world is represented by the West, they also arise from the desire on the part of certain Arab communities to forge (or revive) some kind of pan-Arab bond.
However, according to François Zabbal, the pan-Arab movement came to nothing. Islamic sentiment is developing more as a statement of identity vis-à-vis the West, against a background of creating national or regional solidarities. It is nonetheless the case that a globalized Islam, sustained by modern means of communication and the Muslim diasporas living in Western receiving countries, may well continue to attract the poorest sections of the Muslim world, for better or worse. Let's hope, with François Zabbal, that the "wall of mutual misunderstanding" between Islam and the West is simply a passing tense moment, the prelude to a debate which may well be heated but which is also essential about the place and the shape of Islam in the West.
Georges Corm analyses, in this op-ed piece, what he calls "the binary vision" of the world in which East and West are opposed. He starts by arguing that the end of the Cold War has not brought an end to the hostility between different blocs that dominated the world between 1945 and 1990. In his view we now have two worlds - one pro-Western and favourable to Israel, the Euro-Atlantic bloc, the other more pro-Arab, the "Mediterranean/Asian" bloc - separated by a fracture line that gives rise to both cold (the Iranian nuclear issue) and hot wars (such as the Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan).
He argues that this new confrontation between "civilizations" arises from five main factors: the "war on terror" which he tries to analyse with a certain critical distance, especially with regard to the United States; a certain tendency to wish to dominate the rest of the world on the part of the United States that is not thwarted by its (somewhat naïve) European allies; a Mediterranean/Asian world whose capacity for harm tends to be overestimated, in particular because as a bloc it is far from being unified; the Israeli-Palestinian situation, which in practice now seems very hard to resolve (the creation of a Palestinian state appears impossible); lastly, the designation of Iran as a potential source of regional conflagration while at the same time the United States has deliberately let slip the opportunity to normalize relations with Iran.
With this view as his starting-point, Georges Corm sketches several possible scenarios for future geopolitical change; in general these are quite pessimistic, such as the hypothesis of all-out war between the Euro-Atlantic bloc and a coalition led by Iran with the more or less overt support of Russia and China. In order to avoid such a prospect, it is essential, Georges Corm argues, to dismantle the policy of forming blocs which threatens to reproduce the model of the two world wars; this requires, in particular, the rules of international law to be applied without exception as the only means of calming "inflamed imaginations".
Alioune Sall, Director of the African Futures Institute, looks at the key question of this special issue - the future of relations between civilizations at global level - from the African angle, a view too often forgotten in this debate.
In this article, he sets out the major challenges that Africa faces (coping with modernity, bloody conflicts, problems of governance, etc.) and emphasizes how far the West (in particular the former colonial powers) is responsible for the current difficulties of the continent. Nevertheless, contrary to the view that certain commentators sometimes express, he thinks that Africa has a future and one that does not involve a clash of civilizations, but rather a dialogue which will give rise to a new sort of modernity.
Invoking various African thinkers, Alioune Sall offers three main arguments in favour of this dialogue of cultures: pluralism and respect for diversity, a new kind of citizenship that is not based on being native-born, and the emergence of what he calls "afropolitanity" (in a sense marking a post-colonial phase of modernity in Africa). He does not underestimate the scale of the challenges (population growth, economic problems, governance, etc.), but bases his hopes on the coming together of a vision of values and a certain degree of political intervention that makes it possible to envisage Africa's future with optimism, against the background of a genuine dialogue with other cultures, and especially with the West.
The long, slow pace of change in the West, via conflicts, revolutions and reforms, has no parallel in Chinese history. As Chen Yan reminds us here, in the last 150 years China's route to modernity or modernization has been via a series of blunders in response to vividly experienced contacts with the West. When we look at the present, we also need to remember that China is still searching for ways of adjusting to the modern world and could change direction again.
After describing the process of Westernization as it has occurred in China, Chen Yan presents the next phase, in which the Chinese combine tradition, anti-traditionalism and new currents of thought ("New Left", "New Confucianism", commercial liberalism) in order to develop their own version of modernity. So far, Chinese-style modernization has not reached a successful conclusion, but the way in which the Chinese have approached the problem and are moving ahead with it is a very interesting example of cultural interaction.
Bruno Étienne argues cogently in this article that to think in terms of a clash of civilizations - Islam versus the West - is to make a serious error of judgement by ignoring the many non-religious factors that affect the relations between the Middle East and the West. In order to deal with this misunderstanding, he starts by setting out a clear definition of what he means by religion. He goes on to point out that politics and religion are often in competition, including in the Muslim world, and usually politics has the final say as to which strategy is adopted in international relations.
Bruno Étienne then ponders what kind of international system will emerge now that there is no longer a two-way split: will there be one Great Power or many? He notes that we are now faced with a "huge ideological shambles" and it would be too simplistic to describe it merely in religious terms when in fact the issues are clearly geostrategic: Europe and the United States have always wanted to (re)draw the map of the Middle East to suit their own interests. He also raises the current regional issues (e.g. the problem of Israel and Palestine, the Kurdish question, Iraq, water resources and oil reserves) and their possible impact on relations between the West and the Middle East.
Finally, Bruno Étienne focuses on the three countries competing for leadership in the Middle East: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, recalling along the way that "it is ignorance of the Other [that feeds] most of the fantasies, the prejudices and therefore the fears" .
This article argues that we need to develop foresight studies with a strong geopolitical element, although it also stresses the need, as a preliminary, to meet the challenge of finding a way of capturing the dynamics of the contemporary world situation which is as relevant as possible - a world that clearly no longer resembles the world of the past, heavily dominated as it was by the interaction of nation-states and above all by the Cold War with its head-on confrontation of two opposing blocs operating according to a common logic.
In the absence of an apposite system of representation, the approach offered by Samuel Huntington in his book on The Clash of Civilizations met with great success. The essence of Huntington's thesis is that the civilization paradigm is the best means of analysing, perhaps of anticipating, changes in international relations. The article sets out the main points of Huntington's thesis and then examines what led up to it and, in particular, what its basis and limitations are.
Nevertheless, Hugues de Jouvenel recognizes the need to acquire new tools for deciphering a world where there is a vast increase in global interdependency as well as in tensions and conflicts that should not be viewed solely in terms of differences in culture or civilization, even if these factors undoubtedly play a growing role.
Hugues de Jouvenel concludes by raising the issue of the sense of identity and of belonging to communities of more or less shared values and interests which operate according to models that are sometimes quite unlike those of the past when geopolitics was considered to be the exclusive domain of states and the relationships they forged with one another. He therefore argues that we should thoroughly overhaul our ways of looking at the world which will undoubtedly determine, as always, the way we perceive possible futures.
Le nombre de blogs continue à croître très rapidement s’il faut en croire Technorati, moteur de recherche américain qui surveille plus de 70 millions de blogs et qui indexe plus d’un million de nouveaux billets chaque jour. 120 000 nouveaux blogs sont créés quotidiennement dans le monde. Quelles langues parlent ces bloggeurs ? Au quatrième trimestre 2006, le japonais avec 37%, dépassait l’anglais, 36% et le chinois 8%, alors qu’en avril 2005 l’anglais dominait avec 44 ...
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Une note récente du CREDOC s'intéresse aux travailleurs pauvres en France, au sentiment de pauvreté qu'ils éprouvent, à la relation au travail qu'ils entretiennent. La diversité des profils n'empêche pas que, globalement, la pauvreté paraisse plus difficile à vivre lorsqu'on a un emploi.
42 millions d'Américains vivent sous un gouvernement local privé, c'est-à-dire dans des gated communities. C'est ce que révèle une étude du ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec. Et le phénomène s'amplifie et se répand.
Le changement social a été longtemps appréhendé à partir des seuls indicateurs de la croissance économique (augmentation de la consommation, productivité croissante, accélération des échanges) ou de l’innovation technologique (progrès notamment dans les transports, la communication, développement des biens générateurs de confort matériel). Aujourd’hui, l’analyse prospective intègre une dimension plus qualitative et culturelle, celle de l’évolution des mentalités, des préférences, des aspirations, des modes de vie, des besoins et, en un mot, des valeurs. (...) La dynamique ...
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En France, les ménages pauvres ont pour la plupart accès au système bancaire puisque le taux de bancarisation y est d'environ 98 %. Le nombre de personnes physiques qui ne bénéficient pas de services bancaires serait d'environ 1,5 million selon le CCSF (Comité consultatif du secteur financier).Ces chiffres relativement faibles ne rendent cependant pas compte du nombre de personnes souffrant de restrictions d'usage des services bancaires. Au premier chef, on trouve bien sûr les surendettés ou ...
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Le logement joue un rôle majeur dans l’économie nationale, se trouve au centre de la vie quotidienne des ménages et fait l’objet de nombreuses analyses théoriques. En raison des sommes liées à son achat ou à sa location et à son entretien, l’immobilier occupe une place prépondérante dans le budget des ménages et représente un secteur créateur de nombreux emplois. En outre, il génère des commissions significatives pour de nombreux intermédiaires : notaires, banques, agents immobiliers, etc. Le ...
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The huge increase in Internet bandwidth and in the power of personal computers has made possible a new sort of digital pastime: the so-called "Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games" in which thousands, if not millions, of virtual individuals, the "avatars" of real human beings, interact in an equally virtual world.
When these games first started, you were most likely to be a troll 3 metres tall with an axe and magic powers, but the virtual world most talked about today is very different. In Second Life, for instance, you are an individual, admittedly sometimes a little peculiar and able to fly, but ultimately very similar to a "real" human being: in it you can wander around, earn and spend virtual money (but that you can convert into real US dollars), you can buy clothes or a house, be sexually or politically active. It is therefore another life, a chance for a banker to become a disc-jockey, or for a civil servant to play at being a farmer or to speculate in real estate.
It is thus a social phenomenon worth studying, since the players seem very keen to re-invent themselves in another life, in some ways very similar to real life yet very different too, involving strange, uninhibited and role-playing social relations. It is possible to have several avatars in Second Life and a man can be a woman, anonymity being the best disguise. It is also a techno-social phenomenon, in that Second Life further blurs the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds, the perfect symbol of the disembodiment of places and climate (it never rains on the virtual islands), and a new indicator of the omnipresence that is so much talked about.
Finally, perhaps the most surprising aspect of Second Life is economic, whether or not it lasts: an innovative economic model is emerging, apparently creating new markets into which daring firms and entrepreneurs are throwing themselves. In this article Serge Soudoplatoff explores this hypothetical vision of future commercial transactions.
Are modern societies condemned to a mass market culture based on bestsellers and publishing phenomena like the Harry Potter books? No, that's all in the past, argues Chris Anderson in his book The Long Tail, which Geoffrey Delcroix examines here.
From now on, the markets for cultural goods are likely to operate according to the principle of the "long tail". Alongside a few bestsellers will be "niche products" with much smaller sales. Firms may henceforth find it just as worthwhile to offer a vast range of CDs, books and films as to put all their efforts into selling a handful of high-profile products.
Yet this principle will require firms to hold stocks of goods that they know will sell more slowly, which is why the Internet is a great boon in coping with the long tail. Thanks to e-commerce, it is now possible to offer an enormous range of goods on the Internet for an indefinite period at minimal cost. This concept, it must be acknowledged, ultimately also benefits consumers and promotes cultural diversity.
The dream of making the Internet a unique space where everyone in the world can communicate on equal terms has been slow in coming true because there are many obstacles preventing some countries and their residents from benefiting from the resources offered by the Web (as Kamel Touati argues elsewhere in this issue). This can be seen, too, in the range of languages used on the Internet, which indeed appears to reflect certain geopolitical situations.
As Anne de Beer and Gérard Blanc explain here, so far the Internet seems to have reinforced the dominance of certain of the most widely spoken languages, especially English. About 72% of the websites in 2002 were in English although that was the language of only a third of the Web users.
A factor contributing to this situation has been the ASCII protocol, which was designed for English and makes it hard to use some other languages, in particular Arabic and Asian languages.
The results are less dramatic when one looks at the languages used by people to communicate with each other via the Web: they then prefer to use their mother tongue. Moreover, the recent rise of the blog, reflecting a desire to reach a smaller audience closer to the writer, could allow an increase in the range of languages used on the Internet, in particular French.
Ce premier numéro d'une nouvelle publication de la cellule de prospective du ministère français de la Culture s'attaque immédiatement au sujet le plus épineux, celui des scénarios d'évolution de l'industrie des " phonogrammes " selon la terminologie officielle. L'idée de ce document est donc de tenter d'explorer les futurs possibles de la musique enregistrée dans le cadre de la révolution numérique en cours, en s'appuyant en particulier sur des entretiens menés avec l'ensemble des ...
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Jean-François Tchernia : "Je vous parlerai tout d’abord de l’étude des valeurs, de la façon dont on peut les connaître, et je vous présenterai plus précisément l’étude EVS (European Value Survey), programme qui existe déjà depuis 25 ans. Ensuite, je passerai à l’analyse de l’évolution des valeurs, aujourd’hui en Europe, telle qu’on peut la faire en s’appuyant sur le matériel d’étude d’EVS. Je brosserai tout cela à partir de quelques grands ...
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Deux notes parues dans le cadre du système Vigie ont fait le point sur l'émergence du télétravail dans les sociétés développées et sur ses conséquences économiques et sociales. Pour résumer, le télétravail concerne aujourd'hui 7 % des salariés en France (25 % aux États-Unis et aux Pays-Bas) et pourrait connaître un essor significatif dans les années à venir, en s'appuyant sur des avancées juridiques (droit du travail), sociales (accord interprofessionnel du 19 juillet 2005 entre les partenaires sociaux) et ...
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Beaucoup de nos pratiques, de nos gestes quotidiens sont en train de changer rapidement et pour les acteurs de l’offre, la relation avec le client, l’administré, le citoyen s’en trouve modifiée, déplacée dans le temps et l’espace. Le téléphone portable, les autres terminaux mobiles, les accès fixes et mobiles à Internet, mais aussi le développement du « sans contact » sont les vecteurs de cette transformation. Elle est en train de faire émerger de nouvelles pratiques : les lieux ...
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" L'ascenseur social est en panne ", entend-on souvent. La réalité de cette affirmation est difficile à mesurer, d'autant que les conditions économiques ne sont pas les mêmes aujourd'hui qu'au moment des Trente Glorieuses où, " mécaniquement ", les besoins de l'économie se traduisaient par une hausse du nombre de postes de cadres et de professions intermédiaires créant un " appel d'air " pour les catégories inférieures.
Les modèles sociaux d'entrée dans la vie adulte évoluent selon certaines tendances lourdes qui recouvrent des contenus divers selon les individus, leur catégorie sociale et leur capital scolaire. Les auteurs d'un récent rapport du Cepremap (Centre pour la recherche économique et ses applications) sur la jeunesse française relèvent notamment la diversité des réactions aux contraintes exercées par le chômage des jeunes.
One cannot help but be struck by the upturn in the German economy and in particular by the improvement in exports of manufactured products. François Michaux analyses here the factors that he thinks have allowed Germany to improve its global competitiveness.
Besides relocating certain manufacturing activities to Eastern Europe, the improvements in German competitiveness vis-à-vis the rest of the world can, he argues, basically be attributed to two factors: the negotiations under way about the length of the working week and the lowering of the tax burden on firms.
In this article he shows in particular how Germany - which, like France, had brought in the 35-hour week (Germany by collective agreements, France by legislation) - has had to renegotiate the length of the working week involving a concerted fall in wage costs and challenges to certain established rights. François Michaux stresses the advantages of flexibility obtained through negotiations at all levels, which he reckons is a far more efficient approach than the heavyhanded interventions of the French government, applied indiscriminately to all activities.
The second factor which, he argues, has helped to improve the competitive position of German industry is what economists call "competitive fiscal devaluation", which will be implemented between 2007 and 2009 and will involve a limited social value-added tax, a significant reduction in the tax burden on businesses, and the virtual exoneration of industries from the "green" tax.
The author illustrates his argument by examples largely drawn from the negotiations in the automobile industry, though he stresses that they are not peculiar to that sector and that they can be found in other sectors of the German economy.
By publishing this article, which some people will certainly consider provocative, we hope to stimulate a debate in the pages of Futuribles about the ways and means of updating the European social model.
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.