Calenda – Thinking territorialized education

Since the 1980s, North American and European educational policies have underlined the importance of developing collaborative arrangements between the School and all the different educational institutions. Although they are actualized in different forms and dynamics, these “educational communities” (article L. 111-3 of the French Education Code), “community schools” (Ministry of Education of Quebec, 2005) , or “Cités de l’éducation” in Belgium (Pourtois and Desmet, 2013), have in common official objectives of mobilizing all educational actors, in the service of the academic and social success of children and young people. In the construction of these communities, the territory, both in its geographical and socio-demographic and political and administrative dimensions, is an essential frame of reference. Indeed, the fabric of these educational collectives seems to have to pass necessarily through territorial targeting: in France, the Priority Education Zones (ZEP), which were succeeded by the Priority Education Networks (REP, REP+), are emblematic of this logic. From now on, there would therefore be no more educational public action except “territorialized”, a form of territorial public action (Faure, 2012) understood here as a recourse to local authorities and more broadly to the “field” (Voléry, 2008) to think about and build public action, within the framework of new administrative territories (Ferhat, 2021) and a recomposition of relations between actors (Bordiec and Sonnet, 2020).

This is how in France, during the summer of 2019, nearly 40 years after the invention of Priority Education (Heurdier, 2014), J. Denormandie, Minister of Cities and Housing, and J. – Mr. Blanquer, Minister of National Education and Youth, presents the selection of the first 80 “Educational Cities”. These are presented by the national coordinator as the promise of an “educational society […] crucible of a more open, more united and fairer society” (Léna, 2019). As for the Secretary of State for Priority Education, she considers that they are a crucial step in “opening up the field of possibilities” (ANCT, 2021). Other actors, trade unions this time, consider, on the contrary, that this “approach” signals if not the end of priority education (Sud Éducation 93, 2021), at least the authorities’ renunciation of the principles of territorial equality and social emancipation which led to the establishment of this policy. Two readings of territorialization are then superimposed: for some actors, it is a question, through the Educational Cities, of reaffirming the forces contained in the territories, while for others, this label is a vector of territorial inequalities in terms of of education. The deployment of the “approach” on the national territory is then a precious opportunity to think about territorialized education in the light of its recompositions as well as the discourses and commitments it generates.

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In this context, and opting to leave aside the question of the effectiveness of actions and systems, this conference aims to empirically document the territorialization of education. What (has) (not) happened in education policies (Van Zanten, 2021), in the administration of education (Buisson-Fenet, 2008), and, more generally, in and on popular territories over these four decades, so that these systems and labels are instituted, the common leitmotif of which is to energize and bring together the players in education (Pinsolle, Tourneville, Bordiec, to be published)?

The symposium aims to highlight, using the tools of the social sciences, the processes and practices of territorialization of education, in France, Europe and North America, both in urban and rural areas (Champollion, 2022). This study requires mobilizing different temporal, territorial, institutional and professional focal points: it is necessary to investigate both the immediate time of territorialized education and its history (Garnier, 2014; Laborier and Trom, 2003), to pay attention both to its semantic and symbolic configurations (“partnership”, “transversality”, “project”, etc.) and to the actors (“traditional” education professionals and “new professionals”) of the different institutions (Ministries, administrations , local authorities, associations, community organizations). It is also important to analyze as well the instruments of territorialized education (“rural educational territories”, “mountain laws” arts. 10 and 11, REP, PEDT, PRE, CLAS, educational projects, etc.), as well as its productions (“committees”, “governances”, “participations”). To achieve a detailed understanding of territorialized education, it is also necessary to simultaneously question the ideological springs, the discourses that found it and that they generate, as well as the (dis)engagements that it generates. Finally, given that the forms of this public education action are partly the product of research in education, which is mobilized by the administrations and communities to design and evaluate the action, this understanding of territorialized education cannot do without an analysis of the relations between the administrations, the educational actors and the researchers called upon to produce knowledge on the actions taken (Bezes et al., 2005). Within the symposium, these questions will be structured around the four axes set out below.

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Axis 1 – Categorizations: constructions, uses, effects

A first axis will focus on the work of categorizing populations, professional spaces and types of territories targeted by territorialized education. In a perspective that is both diachronic and synchronic, it will be a question, in particular, of questioning the conditions and forms of use of these categories (“youth”, “pupils in difficulty”, “rural pupils”, “dropouts” , “NEET”, “resigning parents”, etc.), to bring to light their recompositions and their permanencies and, finally, to identify the incidences of these categorizations.

Axis 2 – Discourse: ideologies, watchwords, communication

A second axis will analyze the watchwords of territorialized education and the related ideologies: what is it about doing for/with the audiences it targets? It is a question of seizing the whole of the speeches produced by the protagonists on the various stages of the public action of education: central administration, Ministries and local institutions (collectivities and associations). In the study of these discourses, particular attention will be paid to the vocabulary inscribed in the lexical fields of nature and the environment: “didactics of territories”, “ecosystem”, “local knowledge”, “synergy”, etc.

Axis 3 – Partnerships: co-presences, collaborations, co-constructions

A third axis will focus on examining the processes generated by the partnership obligations characteristic of territorialized education. This may involve, on the one hand, questioning the specific forms of co-presence (without neglecting absences), and bringing to light their effects on practices. On the other hand, it will be a question of analyzing the products of the coexistence of systems and labels on the same territory, from inter-professional collaborations to institutional co-constructions, including “missed” meetings. and impossible encounters.

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Axis 4 – Professions: work, identities, professionalities

A fourth axis will deal, from the study of “historical” and “emerging” professions, with the effects of territorialized education on professionals. It will be a question of questioning the potential recompositions of professionalities, both in terms of practices and representations. The attention given here to the organization and division of territorialized educational work will be conducive to questioning the place of research and researchers in the construction of education and its professionals.

The symposium will take place on 1is and December 2, 2022 in Bordeaux.

Please send proposals for papers to

  • The text will not exceed 2000 characters (including spaces), will be transmitted in .doc format, accompanied by a bibliography of 5 references maximum
  • The theme(s) of the colloquium in which your proposal could fit will be specified.
  • The document will include a short biographical note of the author(s) (name, status, home institution, research topics, recent publications)

The deadline for submission is July 15, 2022.

  • Becquet Valérie, EMA, University of Cergy-Paris
  • Ben Ayed Choukhri, GRESCO, University of Limoges
  • Brumaud Florence, CeDS, University of Bordeaux
  • Cadiou Stéphane, UMR Triangle, University of Saint-Etienne
  • Champollion Pierre, ECP, Lyon 2 University
  • Chopin Marie-Pierre, CeDS, University of Bordeaux
  • Desmet Huguette, Belgium, University of Mons
  • Francis Véronique, CREF, University of Orléans
  • Frandji Daniel, ECP, Lyon 2 University
  • Garcia Sandrine, IREDU, University of Dijon
  • Grossman Sophie, Canada UQAM
  • Jutand Marthe-Aline, CeDS, University of Bordeaux
  • Marnet Muriel, LACES, University of Bordeaux
  • Moignard Benjamin, EMA, University of Cergy-Paris
  • Pesle Manon, ECP, University of Saint-Etienne
  • Pons Xavier, LIRTES, Paris-Est Créteil University
  • Pourtois Jean-Pierre, Belgium, University of Mons
  • Roiné Christophe, CeDS, University of Bordeaux
  • Rubi Stephanie, CERLIS, Paris-Descartes University
  • Sinigaglia Jérémy, SAGE, University of Strasbourg

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