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Legal training and the reshaping of French elite: lessons from an ethnography of law classes in two French elite higher education institutions

Abstract : The article examines the nature of contemporary legal training in two French elite higher education institutions – one dedicated to prepare for legal careers in the economic field, the other one to train top civil servants – in order to assess the role of legal knowledge in the shaping of French contemporary elites. Based on observations of law classes in these schools, it sheds light on the kind of knowledge, skills, and values transmitted through this education. The article shows that in both schools law is presented as a major tool of power, which reinforces its traditional place as governing knowledge. This goes along with the promotion of an instrumental vision of the law, encouraging playing with the law to serve political and financial goals. In this regard, these schools elude the traditional French conception of law as a self-sufficient, coercive and neutral system of positive norms. Though observations show that this move away from French patterns is not fully accomplished in the schools, the promotion of law as a means to profitability and efficiency favours a convergence in the modes of thinking of both economic and administrative elites.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01546957
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Submitted on : Monday, June 26, 2017 - 11:16:11 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:58:55 AM

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Liora Israël, Rachel Vanneuville. Legal training and the reshaping of French elite: lessons from an ethnography of law classes in two French elite higher education institutions. Journal of Education and Work, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2017, 30 (2), pp.156-167. ⟨10.1080/13639080.2017.1278905⟩. ⟨halshs-01546957⟩

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