Société, modes de vie
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Roger Masters has already written for Futuribles (n° 228, February 1998), but his topic then was the future of the nation-state. This time, in an article begun before the tragic events of 11 September 2001, he discusses a more limited field: to paraphrase Montesquieu, not so much the "nature of things" as the "accidents of fate".
Masters highlights two aspects of this dreadful "accident". First, the altruistic element. Arguing as an evolutionary biologist, as he did in 1998, he sees the Islamist kamikazes as an example of self-sacrifice pushing individuals to die in order to increase the chances of survival and reproduction of others with similar genes to their own. The role of the environment is not, however, overlooked, since such altruism is more likely to occur in societies with a high birth rate and short life expectancy (the so-called developed countries, with their low birth rates and long life expectancy tend, by contrast, to exhibit individualistic/hedonistic patterns of behaviour).
As for the destructive element, it can be traced back ultimately to globalization. An increasingly unpredictable world and an ever widening gap between what the ordinary person knows and the state of science and technology together create a need for scapegoats whose destruction will put everything right. This is the role that some types of Islam, which promise Paradise to those who die for the jihad, is undoubtedly playing. Yet in his analysis and his recommendations, Roger Masters never allows us to forget that all beliefs, both religious and nationalist, may become messages of hate, though this is not inevitable. As a result he emphasizes the need to avoid lumping together mainstream Islam and the terrorist networks.
Avant d'entrer dans le vif du sujet, Jean-Claude Guillebaud, venu présenter les leçons principales due son dernier essai, Le Principe d'humanité, a voulu écarter dès l'abord deux malentendus persistants qui risquent de polluer la compréhension de son propos.
This newly released report: Tourism 2020 Vision - Europe continues WTO's programme in the field of forecast studies. This first regional volume on Europe is divided into three parts. Part one examines the development of tourism in Europe in the first half of the 1990s, analyzing especially the key factors which determined Europe's prospects. The second part deals with the various determinants governing the forecast to the year 2020, while the third part presents the forecasts themselves taking as ...
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These newly released reports continue WTO's programme in the field of forecast studies. The series is comprised of six regional volumes (Africa, Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Middle East and South Asia). Each regional volume is divided into three parts. Part one examines the development of tourism in Europe in the first half of the 1990s, analyzing especially the key factors which determined Europe's prospects. The second part deals with the various determinants governing the forecast ...
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Naguère, les relations entre générations étaient simples : elles dépendaient de la position relative de chacun dans le cycle de vie, selon une échelle univoque, dont le sommet était le patriarche. Aujourd'hui, les étapes du cycle de vie sont moins clairement définies, la valorisation des différents âges de la vie a changé, ainsi que la position des femmes. Comment, dans ce contexte, ont évolué les relations entre générations ? Si la cohabitation se raréfie, cela n'exclut pas une grande proximité ...
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Le jeune consommateur mondial existe-t-il ? Le PNUE et l'Unesco ont rendu publique une étude menée auprès de 5 322 jeunes âgés de 18 à 25 ans dans 24 pays, industrialisés ou non, destinée à éclairer cette question . Quoique non représentative (les jeunes étaient tous issus des classes moyennes), cette enquête donne un aperçu des modes de consommation des jeunes à travers le monde et confirme clairement la tendance à l'uniformisation des modes de vie, ainsi que la forte ...
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La « civilisation du loisir », annoncée par les économistes dans les années 1960, n'est pas encore advenue. Du reste, la notion de « loisir » est très difficile à définir : s'agit-il seulement du « temps libre », c'est-à-dire hors travail et temps physiologique et domestique (selon l'approche de l'Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques par « budget temps ») ? S'agit-il plutôt des activités socialement considérées comme « de loisir » (sport, culture, lecture...) ? Certaines, comme la cuisine ou le bricolage ...
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The remarks published here are extracts from an article that appeared in an issue of the journal Administration et éducation (no. 1, 1999) devoted to "Social divides, educational divides". Not included are Claude Thélot's observations on the development of social and geographical inequalities in the French education system: he argues that, whatever anyone says and even if inequalities can be seen to be moving upwards, the school system has nevertheless helped to make French society more democratic insofar as inequalities in access to education are, overall, less marked now than in the past.
That said, much still needs to be done in order to weaken the mechanisms whereby élites reproduce themselves. From this perspective, Claude Thélot argues that the education system should become more diversified while maintaining a strong national framework, able to curb the inequalities that might arise. He also makes the case for a deliberate policy of positive discrimination, while pointing out the contradictions that must be avoided, the precautions required and the need for transparency about the choices to be made.
This piece is more polemical in style than those usually published by Futuribles. But it reflects a major trend that, whatever one feels about it, is striking and undoubtedly deserves our attention.
The trend Bernard Vaudour-Faguet criticizes is the "disneyfication" of society, by which the author also means the "leisure boom" and the proliferation of popular events and entertainments, which he describes and tries to analyse.
In addition to his observations, the author does not hide the fact that he thinks this phenomenon is "the wrong solution to the malaise" of our societies, that it arises from a serious breakdown of values and is a worrying symptom of the "decline of our civilization".
This judgement may be harsh, but nonetheless the phenomenon needs to be highlighted and its motives and consequences should be investigated further.
Jean-Jacques Salomon begins here by stating that the sequencing of the human genome, far from being an endeavour for human welfare, is the subject of a bitter competition, in particular, between public and private sector interests, and that its mapping reflects the geography of power...
Thus, the primary question according to him is whether the human genome is part of the common legacy of humanity (and constitutes a public good) or whether it can be, as is already the case today, privately appropriated and therefore sooner or later, become tradable.
The author subsequently stresses that the human genome cannot be understood as being identical and common to all humans, i.e. the genome of universal man, the average genome. On the contrary, quoting Richard Horton, he shows that the "practical interest of the human genome lies not so much in its actual sequence itself as in the genetic variations between individuals".
Finally, opposing all forms of genetic determinism, Jean-Jacques Salomon reminds us that human beings are not made up of genes that totally predetermine them, but that they also are the product of a social and cultural environment and that any theory explaining human behaviour through strictly physical and chemical factors is an aberration.
Never, it seems, has the progress of science and technique been so ambivalent, giving rise (in particular in the realm of life sciences) to such fears and such hopes.
Discussing here the progress in genetics, Jacques Testart shows first the role played by myths and reality in the progress achieved so far, underlining in particular how the progress in knowledge reveals the depth of our ignorance, or rather, the uncertainty that surrounds many questions. "The attitude of scientific and political authorities reveals a concern to believe and make believe in the control of genetics, a concern which tends towards falsification and irresponsibility" he writes, in order to expose human vanity and the tendency to boast about a knowledge that one does not really have.
Despite that remaining doubt, the author in a second part shows "how we can use genetics". He stresses what advances can be expected, especially in so called predictive medicine, but simultaneously warns about the inherent dangers to genetic selection, the competition towards "molecular enhancement" or worse even, towards "genetic purification" and dangerous "molecular tagging".
It is high time says the author, to "demystify the fabulous promises of genetics and to democratise the field of techno-science". Here lies, no doubt, the greatest challenge for the years to come, in which all of us have a stake and which we can't leave to the secret deliberations of the few genetic initiates alone.
La problématique générale de cet article est d'esquisser les contenus de ce que pourrait être une politique d'aménagement du territoire qui appréhenderait la dimension temporelle au regard de sa propre dynamique mais aussi de celle de son inscription territoriale. Dans un premier temps, les auteurs synthétisent les questions relatives au temps qui ont émergé des territoires associés à la démarche, qu'il s'agisse de problèmes liés à la flexibilisation des temporalités de travail ou à la diversification ...
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In the article we are reprinting this month under the rubric "Futures of Yesteryear" Marie Bordoy dreams of seeing a Tower of Babel constructed in Paris, emulating the Eiffel Tower.
The unprecedented success of the Eiffel Tower encouraged this woman, who was influential in the Paris building trade in the late 19th century, to envisage adding a magnificent monument -covering 32,000 square meters, 140 meters high, with seven floors and hanging gardens- to the Bois de Boulogne. In this unique edifice, intended to be among the most modern and extraordinary, people would have spoken every language under the sun. It was to be not just a visitor attraction, a place of leisure and entertainment, but also a meeting place for industrialists, manufacturers and inventors from all over the world. Thirty million visitors were expected to travel from the four corners of the Earth to see it.
The plans for this architectural marvel, commissioned from Dominique Minaca, conjured up a magical world of distant peoples, combining utility and pleasure, splendour and originality -but never became a reality.
Everyone agrees that poverty is dreadful and that its eradication should be a top priority. Yet while knowledge is recognized to be the greatest form of wealth for today's societies, enormous inequalities are developing not just in financial terms but also in access to knowledge.
Xavier Godinot sets out here to show that there are different sorts of knowledge: theoretical knowledge, which is often the most highly valued -and is indeed the basis for a process of segregation- but also knowledge related to living and acting, not to mention spiritual knowledge, which is probably shared more equitably but which is harder to express, recognize and turn to good account.
The fight against poverty cannot be limited to efforts that allow a few to escape from want while others are relegated to the categories of disabled and unemployable. Nor cannot it succeed by relying on pseudo-training courses in which noble "manipulators of symbols" claim to instruct the poor, or by maintaining a two-tier system of training and job placement that merely reinforces inequalities, especially given that the educational system cannot on its own remedy the differences in family background.
Echoing the philosopher Michel Serres, Godinot stresses that "the fight against poverty and social exclusion does indeed involve the acquisition of knowledge [...] but it is above all about recognizing kinds of knowledge that are not valued", especially the kinds of knowledge related to living and acting that poor people have, and which need to be linked with theoretical types of knowledge.
Using as an example the experience gained in the "Quart Monde Université" programme, Godinot shows how it is possible, by bringing together poor people, social workers and academics against a background of mutual respect, for everyone to learn from everyone else and for the whole group to make progress - progress towards greater understanding of the processes whereby people become poor and excluded; progress towards the process of empowering the least fortunate in society.
Xavier Godinot is thus not content with denouncing poverty; he describes here a promising way forward based not on aid but on partnership, a partnership that ultimately enriches everyone involved, from the richest to the poorest.
S'il y a des difficultés de recrutement, celles-ci ne sont pas imputables à une pénurie de main-d'oeuvre mais, me semble-t-il, au hiatus existant entre les revenus escomptés et les salaires proposés, entre les qualifications acquises et celles requises, entre la nature des emplois auxquels les gens aspirent et celle des emplois offerts . Les articles de Xavier Godinot et d'Éric Keslassy que nous publions ce mois-ci m'offrent l'opportunité de revenir sur cette question, plus spécialement celle ...
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Every month Futuribles International organizes a round table to discuss major issues facing the modern world with one or more experts well known for their work on futures studies.
The round table with Gilles Kepel, marks the publication of his book entitled Jihad, expansion et déclin de l'islamisme (Paris: Gallimard, 2000). In essence, he explains that in the 1970s, Islamic fundamentalism spread rapidly, but peaked in the 1980s, and for the last ten years it has been in decline.
« Ouvrage d'histoire immédiate, L'Année sociale se doit de mettre en évidence les incertitudes du temps, de rechercher ce qui continue sous l'apparence du changement, ce qui se modifie sans que l'œil perçoive immédiatement le flux et le reflux » écrit en introduction René Mouriaux. Ce recueil offre en effet l'opportunité de faire un retour sur l'année écoulée et d'en dégager les tendances significatives. Une première partie est consacrée à la chronique des évènements sociaux ...
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Réunissant 14 études de cas sur différentes villes du monde, dont Montréal, cet ouvrage se veut un document riche pour la comparaison des villes. Les textes sont accompagnés de cartes et tableaux statistiques facilitant la compréhension des espaces étudiés.
There are today two opposing views of the place of religious belief: that of Samuel Huntington, who argues that there are lasting differences between the Christian, Moslem, Confucian and other civilizations which will ultimately and inevitably lead to conflict; and that which argues that the processes of modernization and postmodernization will give rise to widespread cultural changes, with a general convergence of values despite initially divergent religious beliefs.
Jean Joncheray, basing his analysis on an article by Ronald Inglehart, first demonstrates that these two views are not as incompatible as they might appear, thanks to the "growing tolerance of diversity", if for no other reason. Then, focusing more closely on the position of Christianity in Europe, he wonders whether Christianity may not be "the religion to end religions". Taking up the arguments of Marcel Gauchet, he suggests that, by abandoning efforts to impose the truth by force, Christians have opened the way to human rights, freedom of conscience and therefore, to some extent, the decline of religion.
But matters are not so simple and Joncheray ends by offering three possible scenarios for the future of Catholicism in France:
- it might become "a marker of identity" in which a tiny minority of practising Catholics take refuge;
- it might be reduced to a cultural phenomenon, as French culture continues to be shaped by Christian values which are part of the "general heritage of the past" in French society;
- there might be a "revival of a religious outlook" which would arise as a democratic, pluralist and secular society attempted to provide itself once more with shared values derived from humanism.
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.