What France tomorrow? Which governance systems? How will the desire and the impossibility of being together reshape society? . “Les 4500” by Ipsos is a recurring analysis of French society based on a quantitative study of 4,500 French people, which allows an understanding of the population. Since 2006, every two years, Ipsos has questioned the French at 360° on what they think, feel and do on all the major subjects: optimism, high expectations, perception of the nation, ecology, mobilizing causes, consumption, relationship to businesses and brands. “Paradoxes, real / ideal conflict, cognitive polyphasia… The analysis of French opinion has proven to be as difficult as it is fruitful in this edition where we believe we have detected several signs announcing a key turning point in the French trajectory, the beginnings of change major in the years to come” underline the authors of the study. Thibaut Nguyen, Director Trends & Foresight, tells the story of the French trajectory in an extraordinary period, which opens up many avenues of reflection for all private and public actors. According to the results and its decryption, the state of mind of the French would be rather pessimistic with the idea of going as well as possible in a world that is going badly and that they no longer really understand.
CB News: You speak of a phenomenon of “fracture” in the general state of mind of the French people. Is it generational?
Thibaut Nguyen : yes, it is felt, in the same way as social and digital divides. It is perceived more by young people, who feel more apart from society in general. The youngest in particular live as “orphans” of previous generations and in particular of the generation of boomers. The pandemic has accentuated this feeling of a more disabled youth, cut off in their studies, in their socialization, mentally weakened. In comparison on ecology and in a somewhat caricatural way: the youngest have it in mind, but do less (purchasing power, impulse consumption still present), where the oldest declare it less but do it more with a purchasing power that facilitates brand selectivity.
CB News: Why is it so important to reinvent the social bond? How ?
Thibaut Nguyen : it is precious because this social bond is rare. The French acknowledge the difficulty of finding a consensus on all subjects. Here again, the pandemic has divided families on health measures and the vaccine. They note the difficulty of dialogue without arguing with regard to the last presidential campaign as well. They also note intra-ideological divisions in the political scene (ecologists against ecologists, scientists against scientists, left against left, right against right, etc.). More than elsewhere, the tradition of equality and fraternity, which reactivates all the more when France is going badly, has often called for an “overall” reflex, all the more painful in that it is not happening in this moment. How to reinvent it? It’s very complex. The transition to a form of multi-community is quite inevitable, to relearn the link on a human scale, in more reassuring and coherent relationships where dialogue is possible. This before being able to begin again to integrate the other, the different, and speak again to communities different from one’s own. Now this could also lead to a form of bigotry.
CB News: You say we’ve entered an era of “cognitive polyphasia”, can you explain that?
Thibaut Nguyen : cognitive polyphasia is the ability to think different things, to claim distinct or even opposing values depending on the situation. This is the direct consequence of a period of hesitation on the road to follow for progress (ecological crisis, inequalities, etc.). Which paradoxically makes all possible, even desirable paths: protect yourself, open up, think about securing your material success, build a new world based on ties and sustainability, have fun quickly because tomorrow is uncertain… Depending on the situation , one or other of these priorities is more active: supporting the local economy when shopping, using promos and savings by going to hypermarkets, buying organic for health, investing in crypto currencies to try to take shelter while campaigning for green finance… At all times, acting to appease reality or bring about one’s ideal, calls for contrary convictions. This is the moment when we discover ourselves “multifaceted”. Fake news, alternative truths, expert versus expert debates amplify this uncertainty and this “intellectual volatility”. Accordingly, we make our “ideological bargain”: a bit of security, a bit of identity, a bit of ecology, a bit of solidarity, in a tactical and opportune way. Consequence of consequence, we must acknowledge that new ideologies are forming which break the patterns to which we were accustomed: being start upper and decreasing, it is possible…