Neo-liberal influences in a ‘conservative’ regime: the role of institutions, family strategies, and market devices in transition to higher education in France
GB : Carfax
education, higher education, neo-liberalism, stratification, market devices
This article focuses on the interplay between institutional arrangements, family strategies, and market devices in the transition to higher education (HE) in France with a view to documenting both persistent features of the French ‘conservative’ educational regime and recent changes, in particular those related to neo-liberal influences. Using a theoretical model inspired by research on welfare regimes and integrating key elements of the sociology of networks, institutions, and markets, as well as data from a comprehensive qualitative study, the article focuses on three main topics: the impact of both institutional stratification and family choices on segregation and channelling into HE; the framing of students’ choices generated by impersonal policy instruments and personal human guidance; the role of private providers and agencies, as well as the devices they use to influence students’ transition to HE. The conclusion emphasises the impact of these different processes on the perpetuation of educational inequalities.