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Frédéric Viguier

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"Maintaining the Class"

Teachers in the New High Schools of the Banlieues

Frédéric Viguier

Over the past twenty years, a silent revolution brought 70 percent of a generation to the baccalauréat level (up from 33 percent in 1986), without ensuring students corresponding job opportunities. Sociologists have analyzed the impact of this educational democratization, which sought to solve the economic crisis by adapting the younger members of the French workforce to the new economy of services: it has paradoxically accentuated the stigmatization of youths from working-class and immigrant families who live in suburban housing projects. Therefore, high school teachers have had to deal with students' profound disillusionment with education. Moreover, teachers have been central to all of the recent political controversies in France regarding cultural difference. While there are books, pamphlets, and memoirs reflecting their experiences, there is no research exploring the discrepancy between high school teachers' expectations and those of their predecessors. This article explores this discrepancy and its contribution to the social and political construction of the "problème des banlieues."

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Frédéric Viguier

Que se passe-t-il dans les banlieues populaires françaises ? Sur le constat, il ne se trouve guère de voix dissonante : les grands ensembles de la périphérie des villes françaises sont affligés de l’ensemble des maux de la société française. Les lieux sont laids et inhumains et furent bâtis trop vite dans les années 1960 et 1970 ; ils sont également mal reliés aux centres urbains ou aux espaces plus dynamiques économiquement. Un temps tentées par la modernité de ces nouveaux quartiers, les classes moyennes les ont fuis depuis longtemps. Quant aux franges supérieures des classes populaires, elles s’efforcent de suivre cet exode ; ceux qui n’en ont pas les moyens en conçoivent une souffrance immense. Les populations immigrées que le chômage massif empêche désormais d’intégrer y sont majoritaires ; les jeunes désoeuvrés y sont sans perspectives d’avenir.

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Frédéric Viguier

Abstract

Since independence in 1956, Morocco has actively promoted Arabic and Arab culture through successive waves of “Arabization” policies in its educational system. Yet, French educational diplomas continue to be crucial resources in Morocco, while national Moroccan degrees retain little social and economic currency. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco carried out in 2018, this article looks at students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, asks how the grip of French education seventy years after Moroccan independence is experienced on the ground, and provides historical context to account for this situation. It argues that Morocco is an extreme but representative example of how former French colonies—and countries in the Global South—have created new forms of dependence due to their attempts to expand access to education on limited budgets.

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Frédéric Viguier, Michael Lipsky, and Vincent Dubois

Welfare As It Is Frédéric Viguier

French Welfare Workers as Street-level Bureaucrats Michael Lipsky

A Reply to Michael Lipsky and Frédéric Viguier’s Comments Vincent Dubois