The training of elites from the 19th c. to nowadays. Construction of a setting of comparisons between France and China


Title: The training of elites from the 19th c. to nowadays. Construction of a setting of comparisons between France and China
Directors: HUO Yiping, Jean-Louis DEROUET & Philippe SAVOIE
Discipline: History and Sociology
Status: Incubating Project
Starting date: 2013



The issue of the training of elites had been left aside since the 1950s, far behind the preoccupations about the democratization of studies. It became more important again in China and in France at the beginning of the 20th c., in a context of international competition. Several works have been developed. The aim of the project is to build a setting of comparisons between France and China and to gather a scientific pool of historians and sociologists so they can deeply investigate this issue during 2 years.

In a first time, the issue will be tackled around 2 questions:

  • The first concerns the values and the cultural references. In the debate on the new definition of elites, China as well as France refuse to choose between maintaining a national cultural tradition and developing skills in order to become part of a globalized world.
  • The second is about measures and means. How to create elite trainings in educational systems supposedly unified: what choices must be made concerning curriculum and education? What choices can be made concerning the choice of schools by the families, etc.


Scientific visit of Wang Li, lecturer of ECNU
From February to November 2013, The Triangle UMR (Unité Mixte de Recherche= a research unit combining several research laboratories) is welcoming Wang Ling who is invited for a 10-month period as part of the MIRA program, paid by Rhône-Alpes region. She will work in Lyon. She will work on the choice of the school by the families and will widen her scope to other aspects about the training of elites.

Scientific visit of Professor Huo Yiping
From the 13rd to 28th September 2013, the LARHA UMR (Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes= History Research laboratory in Rhône-Alpes) will welcome Huo Yiping who studies French high schools for elites. During her visit, Pro. Yping will run several seminars and welcome a Chinese delegation on a visit of several top schools in France and Switzeland.

  • September 17 -22 : visits of Paris schools: Lycées Louis le Grand et
  •    Henri IV
  • September 23 : IFE Seminar, Room 2. Open to everybody 
  • September 23-25: visits of Lyon schools: Lycée du Parc et Lycée de la 
  •    Cité Internationale
  • September 26-27 : visits of Swiss schools: Collège Calvin à Genève

Scientific visit of Chinese delegation
At the beginning of October 2013, both teams will welcome a delegation of Chinese principals for a business trip. They will visit French and Belgian schools for elites.

Scientific visit of French team
October 2013 : Scientific visit to ECNU of Philippe Savoie, Jean-Louis Derouet, Romuald Normand. Visit of schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Xian.

French-Chinese seminar
At the end of October 2013, A franco-chinese seminar is planned in Shanghai to review the situation about the results of these different operations and get prepared for what will come next: a symposium is planned in Lyon in 2014 in order to rally a larger pool for a larger-scale work.