Thèses en cours

Decentralization in the field of education : social and political implications in Italy and France

Letizia Maria DEHO

Thèse de Politics Philosophy and Public Affairs préparée par Letizia Maria Dehò sous la direction de Stefano Ronchi à l’université Università degli Studi di Milano et la co direction de Rigas Arvanitis à Université Paris Cité

Résumé du projet de thèse

Traditionally, there has been an opposition between supposedly centralizing systems (of which France would be an ideal type), and those that grant more importance to local authorities (for instance, the Local Education Authorities or LEA in Great Britain). Similarly, the power relations between state administrations and local authorities have undergone uniform evolutions, with a gradual centralization resulting from the school reforms in Europe from the nineteenth century to the 1970s, followed by a general trend toward decentralization over the last few decades.
In front of such a decentralization trend, the thesis addresses the following research questions. The first two concern the case studies :

  • How and why did France, the paradigm of centralization, happened to decentralize education ? And then, has The New Public Management been effective in modernizing education ?
  • How did governments in Italy attempted to decentralize the educational system ? Why Italy tried to decentralize but did not fully succeed ?
    The other questions regard the comparison between the two cases, as well as more normative considerations :
  • Does a top-down reform sticks to districts or washes away as soon as local politicians can leave the “decentralization laboratory” ?
  • Is there a difference in the way the two countries attempt to decentralize the education systems ?
    And if so, what are the political and institutional factors that determine this difference ?


Education, Governance, France, Italy, Decentralization ;

Zone géographique

France, Italy


  • Début de la thèse : 1 Mai 2023
  • Date prévue de soutenance : Octobre 2023

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