Administrative Reform and the New Conflict of the Faculties at French Universities

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Brice Le Gall
Charles Soulié

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Abstract

Higher education in France is often described as being averse to reforms. Yet the current administrative reform, which aims to make higher education more diverse and vocational, grows out of social changes within the university system. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu, this paper analyzes two waves of massification. The 1960s saw an unprecedented rise of the humanities and social sciences; the 1970s witnessed adaptation to economic constraints and the growth of technical and vocational institutions. The demographics and distribution of teaching staff (faculty) have shifted in favor of technical and applied disciplines. The latest changes endanger scholarly autonomy by reinforcing the divide between teaching and research and replacing elected disciplinary representatives with bodies whose members are appointed by university administrators. English and Russian version.

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