You are holding in your hands the very last issue of "
Cultures and Development ". Our Network remains alive but starting
January 2004, it will no more enjoy its current logistics, with an
office and this journal.
To our readers we say "good bye". We hope that the positive
aspects of globalisation will still allow us to meet or at least to
correspond. This triple issue of our journal allows us to celebrate
fourteen years of reflection and action; research and commitment in
favour of a more respectful approach to local cultures in North-South
This issue presents a careful selection of articles published
in the first half of our journal's existence, that is from 1990 to
1996. Recent issues (n° 30-46) are readily available whereas those
prior issues are often hard to find. They have been lost or forgotten
and some of our present readers never saw them.
We have not included here the (rather more lengthy)
conclusions of our various action-research projects. They were
published in books or in special issues of this journal. A list of the
main themes dealt with in special issues of our journal is to be found
at the end of this issue.
We are grateful to our readers for their faithful support.
Our network and this journal have played their part, so we believe, in
changing people's attitudes towards local cultures in development.
However, the struggle for more attention to culture in development
co-operation, and in the resolution of societal problems anywhere in
the world, is far from over. Admittedly, there is now much more talk
about culture than twelve years ago. Yet culture is often reduced, as
in Samuel Huntington's book "The Clash of Civilisations", to a source
of conflict. Many so-called experts look at cultural differences as an
obstacle to be removed so as to allow the further advance of economism,
with its materialistic and narrowly rationalistic approaches. Others
are opposed to this ethnocentric and profit-oriented arrogance and
recognise that local cultural dynamics can be a source of alternatives
and the engine of creative social projects. We believe strongly that
the struggle for local cultures is to be at the heart of the concerns
of the World Social Summit : "Another world is possible" ! It is a
crucial but difficult struggle as the focus on culture implies the
invisible and not quantifiable aspects of reality. To be
culture-conscious opens one up to issues of meaning and spirituality.
The members of Network Cultures will go on advocating the taking into
account of this immaterial, complex, unforeseeable and often spiritual
aspect of human society and of the human being.