Participatory practices within or against the school system? The controversial case of French experimental schools in La Villeneuve, Grenoble (1972-2005)

Special report: Truant participation
By Marie-Charlotte Allam

This article explores the participatory practices of education in the experimental schools of the district of La Villeneuve in Grenoble, France, between 1972 and 2005. It questions the emergence and perpetuation of practices of direct democracy in the French school system. The text analyzes how educational actors make different interpretations of the participatory instruments. In particular, some groups politicize them in a subversive way. The redistribution of power that takes place within these practices provokes conflicts over the definition of participation in school. These conflicts jeopardize the institutionalization of participatory practices and give birth to clandestine ones.


  • participation at school
  • self-governing pedagogy
  • experimental schools
  • La Villeneuve (Grenoble, France)
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