Presentation

Presentation

Paul GHILS

This issue features a couple of papers on the concept of « anthropocene », which has been coined to name the increasing impact of human activities on the global environment. Its significance is so great that some scientists have proposed that a new […] geological era has begun. For their part, social scientists have suggested that these interactions may bring about awareness that nature and culture, conventionally distinguished as separate realities, are become one single whole.

Michel Adam returns to this huge question mark, between certainty and uncertainty, the event of a disaster and human hope for a a burst of conscience and lucidity. The « World Heritage » is understood as a widening of Unesco’s concept to include both natural resources and human artifacts in sustainable development, as the Earth is increasingly threatened by a greedy patenting of life forms and traditional knowledge is falling back into oblivion.[…]

Jan Zalasiewicz, as a geologist, presents the data currently available to explain the anthropogenic changes to the Earth’s climate, land, oceans and the biosphere. The current debate about the scale, magnitude and significance of this environmental change inevitably leads to the conclusion that an epoch-scale boundary has been crossed within the last two centuries.

Pierre Guenancia sketches the contours of a philosophical cosmopolitanism which cuts across the variety of individual and collective selves, and the wholeness of humanity and the universe. Two kinds of citizenship can be distinguished here, not exclusive of each other, but engaged in a subtle dialectic: that of the world, immune to any identity, and that of specific polities with their own loyalties.

The cosmopolitan question takes on a different dimension when considered in the interaction between science and the arts. […]Patrizio Destrezza deals with choreographic styles to illustrate this double aspect across the many cultural genres and danse expressions created in various contexts and civilisations.

David Held returns to his well-known analyses of cosmopolitanism, beyond global development defined by extensity, density and velocity of worldwide interconnections. The current concept is a multi-layered process with as many dimensions as human genetic makeup, global habitat, resource use, economic exchange, climate change, security and international democracy among overlapping communities.

The recurring issue of global environment is addressed in two papers. Marc Essis refers to normative criteria to study the ethiccal aspect as a major dimension of this problematique in the international relations context, between the antagonistic positions of cosmopolitanism and multicultaralism. He takes the German case to test the hypothesis that the deadlock in international negotiations on climate change is mostly due to the ideological stands of political parties.

Applying normative parameters, Bruno Kestermont examines the difference between the « weak » and « strong » varieties of sustainable development. The former can be reduced to a single unit or dimensión, whereas the latter implies a complex, multidimensional set of balanced and interdependent factors.

On a more regional level, Landry Signé and Sévérin Tchetchoua Tchokonte examine the strategies of a number of countries confronted with the insatiable Chinese demand for energy, and particularly China’s strategy in Africa in an international context where the political, economic, diplomatic , military and cultural factors all play an important role.

Jan Berting wonders how the European idea can be defined in the absence of a common European anthem, whereas the national anthems themselves make no reference to a European destiny. This weak attachment and this underdeveloped sense of identification with the European Union contrast with the positive orientation of the populations after the end of World War II in the founding countries.

The re-emergence of Holy War in the form of the current military jihad is the topic discussed by Patricia Krone, applying criteria used in a previous study but which appear to be still valid today: delineation of the political, religious, and cultural environment in which Islam began, replaced in the current context.