2005 Marseille Conference

Questioning concepts, rethinking conflicts

Marseille, 6-8 July 2005


The different peoples of the Pacific confront essential challenges in terms of their social fabric, economic sustenance and geopolitical balance. This region is a central focus for the future of the planet with its old Asian civilizations quickly adapting to technological change (China, Japan, Russia, Indonesia), facing younger powerful English speaking states differently allied through military agreements (United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand), territories still under French “tutelle” (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna) and the so-called micro-states (such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu). Some of the very recently independent states are looking for a pan-Pacific identity with common strategies for a sustainable development, although the “Pacific Way” of the 1970’s consensus aiming at a development in peace has been torn through political instability, Coups d’Etats and various ethnic, religious, economic and political conflicts. Some of the Pacific challenges examined in this conference are concerned with the socio-political impact of colonial history such as the colonial settlement in the current process of conflict and procedures for reconciliation (sessions 1 & 2). Fast modification or outright, loss of tradition and the rapid movement towards modernity will be discussed via subjects such as dynamics of religiosity, spirituality of objects and issues of intellectual property in Museums and elsewhere (sessions 3, 9 and 8). Facing globalization and accepting certain tools and lifestyles of modernity without losing values and principles of local belonging, promoting a multifaceted identity challenges our scientific disciplines. The boundaries, ethics and the interdisciplinary constitution of knowledge in the conception of space and navigation (session 4), endangered languages (session 10), reconceptualization of cultural practices, sociality, strategies of communication and the use of new technologies (sessions 10, 11, 6 & 7) engage researchers in social sciences as well as museology, cognitive anthropology or computer sciences. Research in relation to people, societies, culture heritage and change necessitates more than ever a sophisticated approach to rethink political conflict beyond ethnicity (session 5) and to redefine our research tools not only for understanding this world and its past but also to try to get insights into the future of a strategic region intertwined in the network of the global world.