Socio-histoire d'une entreprise éducative : le développement des Ecoles supérieures de commerce en France (fin du XIXe siècle-2010)

Abstract : This research examines a group of French higher education institutions, the so-called Ecoles supérieures de commerce (ESC - Superior business schools), from the end of the 19th century to the present. It focuses more specifically on the last fifty years of this period. Through a socio-historical approach, it analyzes the development of these schools which represent a very specific model in the French higher education system, being private and closely connected to the Chambers of commerce, recruiting through selective competitive exams and, to some extent, functioning as firms. Borrowing from the theoretical framework of neo-institutionalism as well as the sociology of organizations, this work aims at going beyond a functionalist vision which describes the development and increasing popularity of these schools as mere answers to demands from the business world and students. Based on archives, statistical data and interviews, this research underlines on the contrary logic of actions and interests specific to the schools under examination, and reveals their strategies to appear as legitimate organizations. At the outset the existence of such schools was difficult as they did not appear as especially necessary nor useful. Progressively, however, they gained legitimacy and social recognition. The focus on the relatively small group of schools that constitute the ESC brings to light processes of imitation and homogenization, as well as differentiation and the emergence of hierarchies within these schools that are all linked by state regulation, cooperation and competitive relationships. The study examines the various processes that shaped these schools, sometimes independently from any external demands. A contribution to the history of higher education institutions, this work helps in addition to analyze the current transformation of the French higher education system, since it addresses questions such as the funding of the business schools, the evolution of their recruitment systems or their internationalization.
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Contributor : Marianne Blanchard <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 29, 2013 - 2:06:09 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 12:46:16 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00785740, version 3



Marianne Blanchard. Socio-histoire d'une entreprise éducative : le développement des Ecoles supérieures de commerce en France (fin du XIXe siècle-2010). Sociologie. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 2012. Français. ⟨tel-00785740v3⟩



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