The social stakes of bilingualism in French schools
Langage et Société n° 116, June 2006, p. 73-91
This article seeks to account for the characteristics of French school policies as they have evolved over the years regarding the children of immigrant or minority groups. The constant preoccupation with integrating them into the national community, the only community that has any legitimacy in the Republican model “à la française”, tends – though it is somewhat of an illusion – to attribute the main responsibility for that integration to school. Consequently, different social, cultural and linguistic identities are denied or pushed into the margins of the system, as is the case for instance with the teaching of languages and cultures of origin (ELCO program). Despite numerous attempts to reform the system, the fear that community identities will strengthen runs against any positive treatment of bilingualism and cultural diversity, since the latter are identified with low-status groups.
Social and cultural otherness / bilingualism / domination / immigration / integration / school policies
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