An impossible public problem or the paradox of activist resistance: Unwillingly depoliticizing immigrants’ schooling in France


  • Thomas Douniès Université de Picardie Jules-Verne



organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro, problema público de la educación, educación de los inmigrantes, vulneración del derecho a la educación, (des)politización, etnografía, Francia


In France as in other European countries, access to education for immigrants beyond compulsory schooling is selectively achieved, through a triage implemented by education administrations. Support organizations are increasingly solicited on this matter. Considering the twofold policy role of non-profits which both act as advocates and providers, this paper sheds light on the reciprocal relationship between the way activists manage enrollment in education and the way this issue is framed in the public sphere. Indeed, militants play a gatekeeping role and can discretely negotiate the access to school at the margins of the official institution. Nevertheless, because this struggle for education is individualized and silent, this issue is not likely to become a public and visible cause, around which a political reaction from public authorities could be claimed. Hence, while they largely counteract the infringement of the right to education, the actions of activists paradoxically participate in making it socially acceptable. That is why, beyond the case of immigrant education, the analysis eventually provides an empirical understanding of the social conditions of the construction of education public problems.






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Author Biography

Thomas Douniès, Université de Picardie Jules-Verne

Thomas Douniès is Ph.D. Candidate in political science. His work articulates the analysis of the social state, the government of minorities, and the production of social inequalities. His PhD thesis copes more specifically with immigrants’ schooling on the margins of the state. The book from his previous research on civic education has been published in 2021: Réformer l’éducation civique? Enquête du ministère à la salle de classe, Paris, Presses universitaires de France.





How to Cite

Douniès, T. (2021). An impossible public problem or the paradox of activist resistance: Unwillingly depoliticizing immigrants’ schooling in France. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(January - July), 72.



International Migration and the Right to Education