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What transformations of schools and educational spaces has the XXIst century brought about? For which democratic project(s)? In most massified educational systems, the transmission of knowledge and the handling of educational issues are no longer effected solely by the school. Its ability to meet the democratic challenges assigned to it is questioned by the facts. Although school is being supported in its socializing functions and mentoring of the youth, even if the training level of new generations is increasing, though the aspirations for educational democratization are shared and have emerged as a major issue of economic or democratic development, no educational system manages to escape social and gender achievement inequalities, despite significant differences in performance in this area (Janmaat, Duru-Bellat, Green, & Méhaut, 2013). The statistical data on pupils’ educational path reminds us of the weight of the social legacy in terms of academic achievement. The modes of accessing the different curriculums and degrees are highly differentiated and categorized according to gender, social class and race (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1970 Bernstein, 1975). It is therefore necessary to analyze the links between these different categories (Bereni et al., 2008). While the distance that separates the pupils from the lower classes, especially boys, from the average academic standards does not seem to decrease, girls tend not to translate their academic success into professional achievement even as the diplomas and the university degrees have become essential on today's labour market.

At the same time, school and educational spaces seem to recompose around the mobilization of new actors, new forms of organization of school and educational activities, the transformation of the scales of intervention, the promotion of different practices and sometimes alternatives to a model school in difficulty (Ben Ayed, 2009; Seddon & Levin, 2013, Maurício, 2014). This transformation is accompanied by an international movement of recomposition of the school systems, characterized by an increased competition between schools which is supported by public policies with nuanced effects (Ball, 2008; Felouzis, Maroy & Van Zanten, 2013). We must be able to examine the effects of these policies in terms of spatial repartition of social problems in and around the school and link them to inequalities in terms of educational resources among the territories. Centralized models are recomposed in favour of new forms of educational organizations that form themselves around the sedimentation of regulation modes (Buisson-Fenet & Pons, 2014) and the proliferation of local systems. These are built to meet the heterogeneous public and to address local constraints perceived as specific (Barrère, 2013). Increased institutional autonomy has led to structure these programs around the supposed characteristics of the territories and the mobilization of local and regional authorities, community or nearby associations, popular education and empowerment movements. The involvement of these new actors in the management of school affairs probably calls for an evolution of the current analysing fields that cut across the strictly school centered frameworks. Previously engaged in other forms of youth leadership, these actors are now strongly mobilizing to address singular difficulties that may be referred to as new educational issues.

These issues point to "public problems" (Cefaï & Terzi, 2012) that arise and evolve specifically in the school space. They disrupt or question the ordinary operation of the school and / or question its basic social functions. The way in which they are dealt with and anticipated challenges how the school organizes its traditional missions, which revolve around education, the transmission of knowledge and the construction of learning, with wider educational forms. The promotion of the specific difficulties posed by these issues in the public and scientific debate, and in the media, contribute to their definition and the mobilization of plural actors to handle them (Isambert-Jamati, 1985). Underachievement, violence at school, school dropout, ethno-racial and gender discrimination, and discrimination based on sexual orientation, are some of these new educational issues which remain to be analysed as well as the ways in which they are criticized and dealt with (Lemieux, 2009).

One can wonder about the conditions of their emergence in democracies in which educational systems are massified. Are they an inevitable effect of contemporary educational organizations? Do they reveal a weakening of the school in its socializing role, or rather a form of school treatment of the social issue which requires multi-angled ways of addressing difficulties? How do these difficulties aggregate to local contexts and their sociological markers? The forms in which these objects are designated, how they are dealt with, how they are perceived by the actors and what they reveal about the reconstitution of school and educational spaces, all of these issues will be at the heart of this conference. It should be an opportunity to compare fields and objects which can relate to forms of designation of these new educational issues, the terms of their management at local, national or transnational levels, and how these situations are recognized by the various categories of educational actors, including pupils. The conference must also be an opportunity to cross-examine different research on different national or regional contexts, while also supporting the putting into international perspective by comparative work on these issues.

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