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Les scolarités des fortunes internationales entre refuge et placement. Socio-histoire des pensionnats privés suisses

Abstract : The thesis examines how international boarding schools in Switzerland have been producing spatial resources for their students and alumni. The research is based on socio-historical analysis, quantitative analysis, and on semi-directive interviews with headmasters and managers, alumni, teachers and boarding staff at a diversity of international private schools in the Lake Geneva region. The first part of the thesis focuses on the emergence of the private educational sector progressively uniting « boarding schools for foreigners » and « international schools ». Since the beginning of the 20th c., schools have promoted their territorial resources for attracting the very rich, notably from Europe and the United States, and organized sectorial interests accordingly. Swiss boarding schools now have a peripheral part to play in the international spheres of certification and accreditation that govern elite education on a global scale. Nevertheless, recent processes of financialization of the educational sector and ways of protecting the Swiss educational sector contribute to redefine their place within internationalizing governance schemes of elite schools. The second part of the thesis examines the role played by spatial ressources in wealthy families’ educational strategies in Switzerland and the spatial relations to Switzerland that students and alumni develop. The notion of « refuge school » or « recovery school » encompasses three dimensions : the « family » education that the boarding schools promote, parental strategies of avoiding selective national educational systems, socio-political determinations. Under the rise of non European and non American wealthy clienteles, students’ national origins have changed since the 1950s, but alumni continue to stay or come back to Switzerland. This results from a tension : Swiss centrality for financial careers and protection against family, political and national uncertainties.
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Contributor : Caroline Bertron <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 9:45:29 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:49 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03032847, version 1



Caroline Bertron. Les scolarités des fortunes internationales entre refuge et placement. Socio-histoire des pensionnats privés suisses. Sociologie. Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne; Université de Lausanne. Faculté des sciences sociales et politiques, 2016. Français. ⟨tel-03032847⟩



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