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Lecture 3

CLTR 1501 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Service Du Travail Obligatoire, Maurice Papon, University Of Paris

Course Code
CLTR 1501
Alice L.Sedar

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Youth in France
1. 2011 survey by Fonapol -> Sciences Pô about teenagers’ aspirations and
their dreams
Tangles many issues (taxes, immigration, sexuality)
Those who opposed: 16-29 years old
What is a good life for the French?
oStarting a family (significantly more important in France than
rest of Europe) 47%
oEarning a lot of money = 14%
oFeeling free = 18%
In France education is practically free compared to
Americans focus more on earning a lot of money
What does our generation hope to achieve in the next 15 years?
oWant to own a house or a flat = 68% (world record)
Relates back to wanting a family and wanting to own
real estate
oHaving children
Relates back to the importance of family
oWill teach their children to be independent = 12%
Relating back to obedience
Obedient at home but disobedient outside in cases of
social justice
oIt’s acceptable to break the law to fight for justice in society =
oAgainst wearing religious symbols at work = 71%
oFamily first, nationality second
French youth is among the most pessimistic
Half against & half for globalization
oHalf think it’s an opportunity and half think it’s doomsdays
oThose who think it’s an opportunity, that average is much
lower compared to all of Europe
oThe less qualified you are, the older you get, and when it
relates to our globalization, the more you are against
Against it because they’re not prepared (public
2. Summary of the educational system in France (high school and college)
1830s: boys had to go to school so that they can learn manners
and rules, etc.
1880s: young girls could now go to high school but didn’t have the
same curriculum as the boys until 1923
The main focus in high school until WWII was humanities because
the intellect was important
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oProblem: it was the children whose parents had the means
and therefore could go to college afterwards and get a job
via parents’ connections
oBut those who were not as lucky didn’t have anything to do
with their high school diploma
After WWII, when communists came into power, there was a will to
get more people from diverse backgrounds into the system to
democratize the system; did this for 3 reasons:
oSwitched the curriculum from humanities to maths and
Believed it would open the gate to more students
Many intellectuals, writers, politicians discredited
themselves due to the Vichy government
Democratize the education and to train scientists
because they wanted to modernize France
The Cold War; Russia was going full blast with
scientific developments therefore France wanted to
provide the country with people who could also
defend the country using technology
Despite these things, in 1964, Pierre Bourdieu
said that “only 1% of young people coming
from modest backgrounds got to higher
education (BAC)” therefore the system has
Mid 80s: François Mitterrand realized that the BAC was not enough
for all students therefore went from only having 5 different types to
25 types
oBelieved that opening up the number of different BACs for
students would enable the students to choose something
they can succeed in so that they be able to go to college
oThey wanted at least 80% of high school students to pass
with the BAC
oPublic educational schools’ teachers were not prepared to
teach students in such diverse backgrounds
oUniversities were suddenly flooded with students and the
means of the university put a strain on the professors,
students, etc.
oProfessors who were teaching in higher education in public
universities continued to teach as if they had a minority of
elite students
Result: only 40% of people graduated because most
of them dropped out
The way they were taught was completely
disconnected from reality
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The professors held the idea that: a university is a
place where you learn critical skills, where you learn
how to think and learn about theories; they don’t want
any interference with the outside world and no
relationship with economics for some ideological
There’s not a constant exchange of information in
college with the outside world and therefore it’s more
like a fortress of information so many have a fear that
they are not prepared for the real/outside world
Public universities are first egalitarian (no entrance exams so
acceptance might be based on recommendations) meaning that
everyone has an equal opportunity to get in but must really work
hard to stay in; almost free tuition and easy access but real
selection comes at the end of first/second year
oMajor problem that’s starting to change: no bridges between
different departments/majors
Once you change majors, you have to start from the
beginning again
Public education is extremely good no matter what but the
difference between American and French is that the French don’t
connect to the real world
3. Young, educated, and jobless (article)
Many French students against the revision of the labor code
Changes/revisions of the labor code
oDiminishes the impact of the unions and their ability
oIntroduces more flexibility as to when to lay-off
Social protection is so high that companies rather not
hire because then it’ll be so hard to lay-off somebody
in an economic down-turn and it’s also very costly to
hire anyone
oThere will no longer be agreement by sectors; therefore can’t
negotiate within a company
oIf an agreement is reached within a company then it’ll
supersede the pre-existing contract
oIn times of difficulty, the company can give workers lower
salaries and ask for more hours and if the worker refuses
then they can be laid off with no compensation
“Floating generation” that is an example of the failure of the system
o95% of new contracts are short-term
oTherefore our generation basically goes from a short-term
contract to the next
Those who are unskilled and who don’t normally go out onto the
streets are now starting to join the national front
Those who protest are the ones who are still in college
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find more resources at