Repetition of discourses on the Scientific and Technical Culture and Effects of School Scientific Categorization

By Olivier Las Vergnas

In France, latest reports and political programs on public understanding of science (in French: culture scientifique, technique et industrielle, CSTI) continue to repeat the same analysis and recommendations than those already made in this type of discourses for decades. They do not take into account more than their predecessors that the French secondary education system creates a students’ categorization in terms of recognition as “scientific” with the “Bac S”, a key diploma allowing each year only a quarter of each generation to be later considered as “scientists”. CSTI for adults should therefore be separated in two families: the first organizing the dialogue between scientists and “laymen” without questioning this divide and the second fostering the appropriation of knowledge in order to transgress this scientific school divide. However, it is not the case, the field of CSTI continuing to be only a patchwork of various actions with disparate social aims. Moreover, the multiplication of actors focused on very specific objectives –?such as promoting local innovation networks?– makes more than ever difficult to identify bad sociocultural effects at a nationwide scale. Due to this attitude, school scientific divide remains a macro-invariant inhibiting the sharing of sprit of inquiry and technological innovation.JEL Codes: I21


  • scientific culture
  • school scientific categorization
  • technological innovations
  • scientific baccalaureate
  • actors games
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