Les nouveaux cosmopolites

Alors que la mondialisation continue à progresser, grâce à des moyens de communication et de transports toujours plus rapides et à de puissantes multinationales, une nouvelle classe sociale cosmopolite se dessine. Les citoyens du monde qui la composent développent un respect mutuel au-delà des frontières.

J’ai dîné l’autre soir avec des collègues qui ont passé un trimestre à Yale dans le cadre du programme World Fellows, regroupant des universitaires triés sur le volet des plus grands pays. L’expérience de ce dîner fut inhabituelle, car j’ai commencé à sentir qu’aucun d’entre eux ne m’était véritablement étranger. Discuter avec eux semblait bien plus simple que de parler au personnel américain du restaurant.

Bien entendu, la classe cosmopolite n’est pas vraiment nouvelle. En effet, il y a cinquante ans, dans son grand classique Social Theory and Social Structure , le défunt sociologue Robert K. Merton décrivait les résultats d’une étude menée sur les personnes influentes de Rovere, ville typique des Etats-Unis. Le sociologue a choisi ce microcosme du New Jersey pour étudier les relations entre les personnes et leur influence sur autrui, de la même façon que les biologistes examinent des vers minuscules n’ayant que quelques centaines de cellules, pour mieux observer la façon dont chacune est reliée à l’organisme tout entier.

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