Elite education and the State in France: durable ties and new challenges

Elite education and the State in France: durable ties and new challenges

Agnès van Zanten & Claire Maxwell
British Journal of Sociology of Education
  • Photo Vince11111 - Ecole Polytechnique, défilé du 17/07/2014 à Paris - CC-BY-2.0Photo Vince11111 - Ecole Polytechnique, défilé du 17/07/2014 à Paris - CC-BY-2.0

British Journal of Sociology of Education - Vol. 36, n° 1, special issue New Sociologies of Elite Schooling: Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Explorations.

Elite education and the State in France: durable ties and new challenges

Agnès van Zanten (OSC Sciences Po),  Claire Maxwell (University College London, Institute of Education), p. 71-94.

Employing a Weberian understanding of the centrality of a strong bureaucracy in the modern nation-state, this article examines the relationship between the state and elite education in France. Through a historical analysis and an examination of two current issues facing education – widening participation and pressures to internationalise – we illustrate how the legitimacy of the administrative and political establishments, as well as the status granted to elite education tracks, has been largely preserved. Furthermore, dominant social classes have actively played a role in this alliance, thereby limiting the circle of eligible individuals who can aspire to future elite positions.

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