Société, modes de vie
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Computer Science at a Dead End? The Third Wave at the Crossroads
Buffeted on the supply side by extremely dynamic global competition and confronted on the demand side by less promising markets, could it be that computer technology has hit a dead-end? Have its margins been trimmed back so far that, like the good old industries of yesteryear, it has had to reduce the R & D expenditures which are indispensable if it is to get a second wind? Pierre Bonnaure sets up an alarmist picture of a sector which ten years ago was heralded as the engine of the third industrial revolution. But far from concluding that it is doomed to decline, he sketches some pathways at the crossing of which computer science could find a new life.
Virtual/Reality: The Confusion of Meaning
Information and communications technology are developing very rapidly, integrating text, image and sound in multimedia (which include the so-called industries of simulation) to create the "real" virtual spaces in which we are more and more immersed. The immersion is so complete, Chantal Lebrun tells us, that the frontier between virtual and real runs the risk of disappearing completely, leaving us without the essential guideposts of space and time.
She warns us that the confusion between real and virtual is liable to give rise to some real crises of meaning, if not to full-blown insanity. She uses a psychoanalytic model to show how personality is shaped by the triangular dynamism among the real, the imaginary and the symbolic, pointing out how much it can be thrown off balance when the virtual is confused with the real, thus taking away the role of reality as filter to an unbridled imagination.
Avec près de 32 millions de membres, dont les 8 dollars de cotisation annuelle donnent droit à recevoir la revue bimensuelle Modem Maturity (Maturité moderne), ainsi que le Bulletin mensuel consacré aux questions de politiques courantes et à diverses réductions sur des produits et services, l'association américaine des retraités (AARP) est la plus grande organisation non-sectaire des États-Unis. Leur nombre n'est dépassé que par celui des 60 millions d'adhérents à l'église catholique romaine. La puissance de ...
(encore 41 mots)
Social Links Rather Than Solitary Consumption. A Rebound or Mutation of Consumerism
The slowing down of household consumption - if not de-consumption - is not the result of economic conditions alone, says Bernard Cova. It could be explained more fundamentally as a swing of the social pendulum, as a spirit of rebellion against the consumer society and the accumulation of objects which isolate the individual, as the emergence of a demand for social links rather than material goods.
Should we conclude that the dynamic of consumerism is definitively broken? That is not the opinion of the author. Cova shows on the contrary that the consumerism which was initially conceived as a response to the rise of individualism has been turned to the re-weaving of social links, recreating spaces of solidarity and founding new communities of exchange.
The analysis of Bernard Cova extends the work of Robert Rochefort, showing that "to consume, in a rich country, is to both satisfy a need and to give oneself pleasure". The search for social links is far from an outright condemnation of consumerism. It contributes a new motivation and a new discriminating factor among goods, accompanied by a strong relational dimension.
Cultural Decolonisation. A Major Challenge for the 21st Century
This article constitutes the introduction of Mahdi Elmandjra's new book: "Cultural Decolonisation, A Major Challenge for the 21st Century".
Faithful to the ideas that the author has been defending for several decades, this text emphasizes the importance of cultural diversity and the necessity of respecting it as a preamble to any intercultural dialogue. He denounces the threat to this diversity from the hegemonic will of the Occident, most particularly of the United States. This is a big challenge to any country which aspires to cultural independence.
New forms of political engagement
Two themes are recurrent in literature on the future: One is that of crisis, of social fracture accompanying the growth of unemployment, inequality and exclusion. The other forecasts social explosion, if not revolution. What can political science tell us about collective motivation and action?
At first (from the 18th century to 1950), political involvement was taken as normative, even metaphysical. The active, committed citizen was an axiom of political science, says Perrineau. Then, in a second period, its practitioners discovered the reality of the passive citizen. Since the start of the eighties they have rediscovered political involvement but under a diversified, exploded form.
Traditional political participation is in crisis, Perrineau affirms. The left/right cleavage is becoming less significant, membership in parties and labour unions is wilting, along with voter turnout. The centre of policy decisions is shifting from national to local and international levels.
On the other hand, new kinds of participation and involvement are forming around the great ethical and humanitarian issues implied by ecology. In place of the old democratic trio of party, mass mobilization and terminal negotiations is substituted a trio of interest groups, experts in communications, and image-building with media forums and opinion surveys. The trend is to individuation, atomization, blurring of boundaries and the political landscape - all of which contribute to greater unpredictability.
La terre pourra-t-elle nourrir 8 milliards d'hommes en 2025, 12milliards quelques décennies plus tard, voire davantage encore dans quelques siècles ? La question demeure extrêmement controversée comme en témoignent les réactions suscitées par le récent rapport de Lester Brown annonçant la grande pénurie alimentaire de la Chine (Who will feed China ? Wake-up Call for a Small Planet. World Watch et W.W. Norton, septembre 1995). Joseph Klatzmann rappelle, en premier lieu, combien il est important de s'entendre sur les ...
(encore 138 mots)
Alors que se réunit durant cette année 1996 la Conférence Intergouvernementale devant adapter les institutions européennes au double objectif d'approfondissement et d'élargissement de l'Union européenne, Elvire Letourneur-Fabry dénonce le déficit de légitimité desdites institutions européennes. Elle nous met au demeurant en garde contre les mesures qui consisteraient simplement à développer une politique de communication publique plus active, et souligne la nécessité de conférer à l'Union européenne une âme, en bref de mobiliser les citoyens sur un ...
(encore 43 mots)
En cette fin de XXe siècle, la ville rassure et inquiète : symbole de confort, de travail, de promotion sociale, de solidarité, elle montre aussi des tensions, des fissures, des fractures. Transformer cette inquiétude en programme de recherche scientifique, tel est l'objectif que s'est fixé le CNRS avec le Programme interdisciplinaire de recherche sur les villes (PIR). Ce Courrier du CNRS publie des résultats de recherches conduites par le PIR Ville. Il comporte trois grandes parties articulées autour de ...
(229 more words)
Le dernier ouvrage d'Alain Peyrefitte La société de confiance 2 est un vrai grand livre, d'abord par l'importance et l'actualité du sujet qu'il traite, mais surtout par la lumière nouvelle qu'il y projette. Il marque, comme l'a dit Pierre Chaunu, « une date dans l'histoire des sciences humaines ».
McDonald's or the Revenge of Pearl Harbor. Obesity: a "Heavy" Trend Indeed
A third of the population of the United States is obese. And indeed, within the last decade, Americans have put on weight thanks to an intense advertising campaign by agribusiness.
As a result, pharmaceutical industries have a prosperous market selling thinness, which has become a North-American obsession.
Nicole Morgan describes in this article the appalling result of ruthless but complementary competition. The effect has spread to other countries such as Japan where, thanks to new ways of life and new food habits, some are denouncing what is dubbed as "the revenge of Pearl Harbor".
Merci, Monsieur Gates, de trouver le temps, malgré vos multiples occupations, de nous offrir une visite guidée de cette révolution informatique, à laquelle vous aurez imprimé une marque décisive.
A Highly Probable Future. 83 Hypotheses for 2025
Futuribles has kept well away from publishing futuristic assertions which were not carefully supported. In that respect we have always favoured an approach which points to possible futures, stressing the weight of the human factor in decision-making and choice of action rather than forecasts which imply a pre-determined future.
The following text is an exception to the rule since it states 83 forecasts for 2025. But Joseph Coates, who is certainly one of the best American forecasters, makes it clear that these are hypotheses put together by a group of experts, based upon a critical review of many forecasts elaborated since 1970.
Although not always convincing, this inventory has the merit of making us think, including some reflection on developments which are not immediately obvious but of which the impact could be important.
Avec la fin de la guerre froide, doit-on s'attendre à un retour de la situation classique de paix et de guerres telle que nous l'avons connue dans le passé ? C'est pour répondre à cette question que la Fondation pour les études de défense a organisé, en collaboration avec Futuribles International, un colloque sur le thème « Guerres et paix au XXIème siècle », sous le haut patronage de M. Federico Mayor, directeur général de l'UNESCO. Samuel Huntington, Pierre ...
(250 more words)
French Society Proud of Its Sickness
Let's imagine that, in 1794, we had asked some illustrions thinkers to describe France in 1815. This certainly would have been a less perilous exercice than the one organised by DATAR, asking some brilliant intellects to ponder about France in 2015. D. Pinto warns us that, the epoch of Napoleon aside, the situation in 1815 was not very different from 1794 while 2015 promises to be radically different from the present.
According to the author, we are risking a revolution which, in its economic, social, cultural and political aspects, will recreate the cleavages which were supposedly abolished by the 1789 revolution. From the start D. Pinto emphasizes the main challenge faced by French society; she then proceeds to describe its assets as well as its handicaps, one being most often the reverse side of the other: a strong State but... impotent, a vast territory... in the process of desertification, a stable society... but deeply torn apart.
The author offers us an attractive analysis of French society as perceived from the United States and from Italy. From North America, the seemingly tranquil French society appears to be blocked, without much social mobility. A centralised and overbuilt machinery of state prevents the incarnation of republican principles, allowing a third-estate to re-emerge, as elites clone themselves indefinitely.
The Italian perspective admires the French state for maintaining public order, but is struck by the lack of genuine dynamism in its civil society. Italians are also sceptical of plans announced by Paris which they view as the product of a long Jacobin tradition finding no echo in the provinces, which lack local identity and true elites.
France, Diana Pinto states politely, still lives in the times of the Sun King, self-absorded in its ancestral grandeur. But it will have to adapt extremely fast to Europe, get over its rigidities, leave aside the repetitive tics of a political technocracy which is unable to listen to society.
Two years have passed since D. Pinto wrote this paper. She has added a post-scriptum: we are witnessing a worsening of the situation rather than the beginning of a process of adaptation.
Self-employment. Towards a New Model of Working on an Individual Basis
According to Bob Aubrey, full-time indeterminate employment for a period of 37-40 years and within the same organisation is a thing of the past. It will be increasingly replaced by a new type of employment, with blurred boundaries between commercial and non-commercial, between work and non-work. Employment will be replaced by "self-employment", by independent work, by a way of life marked throughout by the interrelation of multiple activities, paid and non-paid for services to others and to oneself, making a portfolio of our competencies, the development of being as well as the emphasis on having.
We are going through a transition period between employment and self- employment, the era of the salary and the era of individual enterprise, from a time when only working hours were paid with money to a time when personal investment will be rewarded by the blossoming individual.
Bob Aubrey describes fundamental mutations which, according to him, will transform the working universe, our modalities of living and even the operations of a society in which workers are independent. In this society, all of one's aptitudes - not just professional or certified competence - will be mobilised for the benefit of a better individual and collective being. He sketches here a possible evolution.
Is Tocqueville Really Outdated? About Ezra N. Suleiman's book "Les Ressorts cachés de la réussite française"
Ezra N.Suleiman answers in the negative. French society, he contends, does not suffer from any deep disease nor any specific blockage. These words are all the more stricking coming from a Princeton University professor (USA). Witness, moreover, the economic and social progress, only hampered by the organisation, training and practices of governmental elites (as well as the confusion between the roles of politicians and senior civil servants).
Nevertheless, replies Erhard Friedberg, we should not delude ourselves about "French success". Its modernisation is not finished yet and still stumbles against deep blockages and a certain organisational and managerial archaism. E.N. Suleiman tends also to see only the good sides when it comes to the role of the State, which has not been as positive as he thinks. And last, and as sharply illustrated in the social crisis of the Fall of 1995, the republican model which confers on a central State guardianship of society as a whole, must be radically rethought.
The Reappearance of Violence in France
Over recent decades it seemed that violence was in retreat within French society. The brutality of former times had been curtailed, and its energy channelled to serve the comfort and security desired by a softer, gentler middle class. Even bandits exhibited some professional class.
This climate of non-violence has been challenged in the past five years by juvenile destroyers and their expressions of spite (spitting, incivility), hatred and humiliation in an outburst of violence against property and persons who embody the established order.
This challenge to social order and sudden rise of tensions has surprised a peaceful society where mutual tolerance if not solidarity had minimized the sensation of police authority. In contrast to France of the good life, a society of urban violence is spreading geographically (684 sensitive districts in 1994 as compared with 511 in 1993) and in grave degrees.
Is this recent phenomenon no more than a brief episode linked to the unemployment crisis and an adjustment in French social relationships? Economic and social prospects are sufficiently dark to justify genuine concern that it is a growing phenomenon which could degenerate into far more serious explosions.
The Fate of Brand-Names... What Future Lies Ahead ?
According to economists, consumerism has stalled. Worse yet, merchants complain, they are losing their grip on households which increasingly go for generic products offered at lower prices without brand identification in super-stores. Are consumers becoming more prosaic, less conscious of brand-names and more preoccupied with satisfying basic needs at a lower cost?
R. Rocheford answers in the negative. "Consuming in a rich country is both the satisfaction of a need and the indulgence of a pleasure". This increasingly important and non material dimension leads the consumer to "exert some resistance by mixing up their cards" in order to conserve the mystery and intimacy which is part of the attraction of consumerism.
G. Caron does not underestimate the impact of mass distribution, while he insists that it does not portend a world without brand-names. Trade marks remain an important factor in merchandising, and consumers' coolness does not mean the end of consumerism. On the contrary.
Nevertheless, a successful trademark must "break into time, both as a sign and a trailmaker", carry an identity (just like human genes), live, and be noticed.
While G. Caron does not think that we are heading towards a no-brand-name world, his description of the components and development stages does acknowledge transition. He identifies those which survive, those which restructure and those which decay. He tells their story as the story of living organisms.
Dans les deux premiers chapitres sont présentées, par grandes régions et par pays, les statistiques essentielles du tourisme international, ainsi que les perspectives d'évolution des flux touristiques à l'horizon 2010. L'analyse souligne l'importance croissante de ce secteur d'activité et le dynamisme particulier de l'Asie du Sud-Est. Le classement des pays selon le nombre de touristes accueillis et selon le montant des recettes réserve quelques surprises au lecteur non spécialiste. Les deux derniers chapitres approfondissent ...
(85 more words)
Une vision officielle du futur suggère une égalité croissante entre l'homme et la femme. Mais ce scénario idéal (quoique...) n'aura pas lieu : l'égalité des sexes ne peut être observée nulle part, et le partage du pouvoir ou des emplois continue à s'opérer au détriment des femmes. La plupart des créations d'emplois aux États-Unis concerne des emplois à temps partiel, moins protégés, moins sûrs. Dans les pays en voie de développement, on continue à refuser de ...
(149 more words)
A "colloquium" in the December 1993 Futures consisted of a paper by Willis Harman, President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Saulito, California, Rethinking the central institutions of modern society : science and business, and six responses. The responses were broadly sympathetic to Harman's position : one, by Yehezkel Dror, was sharply critical. There was within the colloquium no further response from Harman. In the view of Trevor Williams (a former Head of the Unit for Futures Research, University of Stellenbosch ...
(78 more words)
L'islam est désormais une composante définitive et visible de la culture, des institutions, des villes d'Europe occidentale. Il ajoute une complexité nouvelle au sein de sociétés déjà plurielles. Des acteurs multiples - migrants de la première génération, jeunes, convertis - participent à ce processus de création qui est l'invention sociale et culturelle d'un islam européen. L'ouvrage de Felice Dassetto, professeur de sociologie à l'université de Louvain, étudie cette construction sociale. Il décrit et analyse les adhésions ...
(115 more words)
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.