The conference is part of a project sponsored by the JoRISS program “The training of the elite from 19th century to the present. Construction of a framework of a Franco-chinese comparison”. One of the features of this project is to cross historical approaches and sociological approaches.
After a series of exchanges and visits of schools, the aim of the conference is to make a preliminary review of the question and mobilize a scientific community in order to develop more precise studies in the years to come. The exchanges will be organized around four questions:
• The definition of the elite and the justification of elite education
A perspective of the tension between elitism and mass schooling. Teaching reserved to children of the dominant classes to generalized educational competition, how has the notion of elite education evolved? What compromises have conciliated the existence of elite education with the general movement of democratization of studies? Analysis of the shifts in meaning over a long period of time, of the definition of the elite and the current tensions between competing concepts: the permanence of the national classical culture reference, the rise of new conceptions based especially on inclusion in international networks. Is there room for professional elite education?
• Institutions, measures and educational content
To train or select the elite? Analyses of different rankings that have allowed and allow to reach an elite teaching ; role of options and courses and of the system of the top universities (les grandes écoles) and the preparatory classes for the grandes écoles in France, the national exams and elite schools in China. Evolution of teaching content and methods: kinds of exercises and tests, pedagogical supervision, observation of student success factors, etc.
• Social paths and family strategies
Several studies in France have demonstrated the reproduction of the elite. It even appears that after a period of openness, the weight of social origins is reinforced. What about China ? What is the role of family strategies: choice of options; choice of schools, etc? What measures have been adopted (or not) in either country to correct these kinds of social determinations? What structural obstacles tend to accentuate them?
• What do the students of elite schools become?
Many studies demonstrate the cost of elite training for States. For a long time, the beneficiaries move towards the public sector. Crossovers to the private sector are increasing. Is it a question of disloyalty or another way to serve the common good? Is this evolution fought, consented, encouraged?
Registration is free. The conference focuses on the cases of France and China but it is open to partners working on other countries. They can contribute to enhance the construction of a comparatist framework.
Huo Yiping, History professor, ECNU
Derouet Jean-Louis, Sociology professor, ENS of Lyon-FIE,
Savoie Philippe, Modern history professor, ENS of Lyon-FIE
Program of the conference
ENS de Lyon - Site Descartes - Salle R 143