Whose opportunities ? (Colloque, oct. 2009, National Library of Portugal)

The cases of “sciences Po Paris” and the ESSEC for two normative approaches of affirmative action in higher education in France : Where is the ideal of equality republican ?

vendredi 23 octobre 2009, par Agnès Berthelot-Raffard

Thèmes : Justice sociale

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In France, meritocracy was always a central pillar of public policies which had a function to ensure equal opportunity. Indeed, in the past, meritocracy proved its usefulness by ensuring renewal of elites. However, nowadays, it is highly challenged because of contemporary societies must answer a greater requirement of social justice which assigns to educational establishment and university a more increased role to reduce inequalities. Therefore, since 2002, in France, several devices have contributed to support social diversity in higher education. The most significant case is the setting up of Conventions Priority Education (CEP) by the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (more generally named “Sciences Po”). Since the implementation of CEP, other institutions (such as ESSEC or certain “Grandes Ecoles”) also established up such devices. Shortly, I will present two historical dominant designs of school justice. After, my analysis will be supported by an empirical case : the one on a comparative examination of institutional devices of Sciences Po and ESSEC. Then, I will defend the idea according to which the existence of these two normative conceptions leads incomprehension about the French republican ideal. However, it is advisable to get to reconsider a meritocracy which answers the future objectives of equality of opportunity in France. For this aim, we must examine which normative conception converge more with the French ideal of republican equality.

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par Agnès Berthelot-Raffard

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