Informations and abstract
Keywords: Higher Educational Market; Guidance; University Reform; Tertiary Education Fairs; Service Logic.
Drawing on a combination of research methods, this paper focuses on the issue of choice in higher education, looking in particular at «guidance practices» and how they influence the reproduction/reduction of inequality. Two aspects of the logic behind guidance practices come to light from data analysis. First, we have identified certain guidance practices associated with public universities that have high symbolic capital. Such universities commonly organize summer schools for selected high-flying students who have been particularly successfulduring their secondary school years. Second, we observe guidance practices based on the logic of marketing, where students are treated mainly as customers. The main message in this case is centred on the supply of services (presented through fairs, open days, campus visits, etc). These activities are not driven by students' needs but rather by the interests of the organizations that consider their prestige as the main parameter of success. In the field of guidance as a market, «public interests», «commercial goals» and private «interests» are often intertwined. Market and service logic thus represent different strategies in the university field. On the one hand, they operate in a sphere of structural and symbolic differences (private/public universities, Northern/Southern universities). On the other hand, they produce effects that not only reinforce pre-existing structural hierarchies but also symbolic ones.