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L'école et la croyance en la méritocratie

Abstract : This study aims at measuring empirically the belief in meritocracy and analyzing the impact of education on this belief. The research is structured in three parts: – Measuring the hold and the spread of the idea of an educational meritocracy. – Assessing the perceived legitimacy of educational meritocracy – Analyzing the determinants of the belief in meritocracy, especially the schooling effect. Three different types of empirical materials have been used: (1) data from the International Social Survey Program 1999 (Social Inequality (III)), (2) an original survey conducted among students in different courses of study (first year of higher education) in the academy of Caen, and (3) interviews with students from two prestigious “classes préparatoires” in Paris. Although the merit principle seems to be frequently used by the individuals, educational meritocracy is more criticized – especially in France. The diploma is in fact perceived as not entirely legitimate because it fails at representing the individual will to succeed in life. The educational level has contradictory effects on these representations: whereas more educated people believe more often that society is meritocratic (positional effect of education), they doubt nevertheless that the diploma can reflect what anyone deserves (cognitive effect of education). This research also shows that beyond the objective educational level, the subjective experience in school also influences the representations of meritocracy. In addition to this individual effect of diploma, this study has shown that, at a more macrosocial level, the school system also has an overall effect on such representations. Social inequality at school or in society as a whole is likely to make people believe that social recognition of diploma is important.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 15, 2008 - 3:48:43 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00347360, version 1



Elise Tenret. L'école et la croyance en la méritocratie. Sociologie. Université de Bourgogne, 2008. Français. ⟨tel-00347360⟩



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