French Public Education
Since the establishment of a free, compulsory, and secular school system in the early 1880s, the position of public education in French society has evolved significantly. Designed originally to create an "educated" citizenry, its function has increasingly been interpreted as one of promoting social mobility and "equal opportunity" within that citizenry. Over the course of this shift, education has become a site of fierce debate in France. We will take a historical and sociological approach to explore the contours of this debate, covering such topics as: primary school teachers' role in forging national identity during the Third Republic; efforts after World War II to democratize the system; and current attempts to diversify elite institutions of higher education. Authors will include Baudelot, Bourdieu, Dubet, Ozouf, and Prost. (FREN 0230 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc.