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This article aims to examine the foundations and effects of the social justice model promoted by the Convention Éducation prioritaire (CEP) competition of Sciences Po Paris. It is based on databases of the Sciences Po School Service, interviews with candidates and jurors, and a lexical analysis of the evaluation grids of the admission interviews. As a positive discrimination mechanism “à la française,” this model is paradoxical. It proposes a renewed vision of merit as a recognition of singular talents, relativizing its academic dimension and breaking with the principle of standardization of evaluations. However, far from disappearing, this academic dimension is being recomposed in the selection procedures and continues to play in favor of the best students, a part of them from upper class background, and among them boys. Far from being homogeneous, the CEP’s recruitment is based on two pools of candidates who are academically, socially and territorially contrasted.

  • Social Justice
  • Affirmative Action
  • Social Diversity
  • Higher Education
  • Selective University (“Grande école”)
  • Recruitment
  • Selection Process
  • School Test
Marco Oberti
Alice Pavie
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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