Social and school differentiation in urban space: Inequalities and local configurations
Environment and Planning A
208 - 227 p.
The distribution of school provision in the greater Paris metropolitan area, including the availability of certain courses and study programs, is strongly correlated with the social profiles of the different localities and corresponds to sharp disparities. The highly diversified, attractive school options in localities whose residents are highly privileged in socioeconomic and occupational terms stand in contrast to the less diversified educational resources, including fewer course and study-program options, and reduced private school presence in more markedly working-class municipalities. Different approaches to school choice are strongly linked to parents’ socioeconomic status but do not amount merely to practices for avoiding stigmatized middle schools in working-class localities. Those approaches make sense when considered in relation to what may be tightly circumscribed social and school environments and differentiated social positions and demands. The results presented here call into question the effectiveness of school-districting rules in France aimed at regulating the social profile of middle schools. As in London, Amsterdam, and Madrid, school dynamics and urban space in the outskirts of Paris are closely intertwined and increasingly interact in producing segregation.