Trump supporter Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Mobiliser l’espoir incarné par les sciences sociales

VIENNE – Lors de son discours d’ouverture de la cérémonie de remise des prix Nobel 2016, Carl-Henrik Heldin, le président de la Fondation Nobel, a établi un parallèle entre la conjoncture actuelle et le monde de la fin du XIXe siècle dans lequel vivait et travaillait Alfred Nobel.

L’époque de Nobel était une période d’expansion économique et d’industrialisation rapides. Des idées politiques progressistes sur une coopération internationale pacifique gagnaient du terrain, mais le nationalisme, la xénophobie, les tensions géopolitiques et le terrorisme également. Des anarchistes avaient assassiné un tsar russe, une impératrice autrichienne et des présidents français et américain et le déclenchement de la Première guerre mondial manqua porter un coup fatal à la civilisation européenne.

Les similitudes avec le monde actuel sont évidentes. Les scientifiques continuent à nous surprendre avec des découvertes extraordinaires et des millions de personnes dans le monde sont sorties de la pauvreté. Mais des nuages sombres s’accumulent à l’horizon. Des attentats terroristes ont durement frappé l’Europe et des millions de réfugiés fuyant la faim et des conflits mettent à l’épreuve les institutions européennes et menacent la cohésion sociale. De nouveaux mouvements populistes sont apparus, appelant à la fermeture des frontières et à la construction de murs, et leur négation de l’expertise a amené Heldin à parler de « la triste vérité » qui « est que nous ne pouvons plus considérer comme acquis le fait que le peuple croit en la science, les faits et la connaissance ».

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