exclusive, unfair, unattainable

Inequality, arrogance, vanity

intellectual, money, government

money, fame, demeanor, elegant

Nobel, Rich, Successful

one thousand three hundred and thirty seven

rich, excused, above

Rich, Luxurious, not necessarily responsible

rich, snobs, smart, wealth

rich, stuck-up, mean

Rich. Powerful. High class

secluded, Harvard, outstanding.

snobby, condescending, money

top, superior, ego

universities, educated, upper class

wealth, power, corruption, unbalance

wealth, well-educated, employed

Wealthy, High-class

études, meilleurs, grandes écoles

domination; pouvoir; autorité

doué; travailler avec effort; différent

grandes écoles, meilleur, peu

grandes écoles, pouvoir, influence, politique, intellectuels

HEC, science po , performance

intellectuel, cultivé, savant

les meilleurs, la réussite, rareté

meilleur, plus intelligent

Meilleur, Réussite,

meilleur, sommet, réussite

mondain, intelligence, pouvoir

peformance, culture, intellectuel

penseurs, politiciens

polytechnique, sparte

pouvoir, argent, manipulation

Pouvoir, Hiérarchie,

Réussite, efficacité, sommet, travail acharné

réussite; modèle; pouvoir

réussite; penseur; dirigeant

Reproduction Sociale - Argent - Pouvoir


This was kind of what I expected.  Even though it was just "elite," nearly everyone assumed it referred to the "elite class" of society.  Money, power, and knowledge are generally associated with the elite, which was found on both sides.  However, the American side had our general perception of the elite, which was negative.  Also, we tend to associate "elite" with money more than anything else. On the French side, it appears that the elite have earned their place in society, and possibly that they deserve this status.  Here, "elite" is associated with power and degree and not money as much.  Is it that position and power is percieved greater than money in France?

Il y a tout d'abord deux  sortes d'élite: l'élite intelectuelle et l'élite financière. L'élite intelectuelle n'est pas forcément associée à l'argent. La preuve, nous pouvons prendre l'exemple des chercheurs français qui préfèrent partir aux Etats Unis car ils sont mieux payés chez vous. Cette élite n'est pas valorisé et est en retrait par raport à la seconde: l'élite finacière. En effet, le pouvoir et l'argent me paraissent indissociables. Bien souvent, les gens qui ont beaucoup d'argent se retrouvent dans tous les domaines: politique, économique et industriel.

Les grandes écoles en France sont souvent bien plus facile d'acces pour "l'élite" de la societé d'une part puisqu'ils ont de l'argent et que il y a du "piston" comme on dit entre les personnes du même milieu. Je pense qu'en Amérique l'ascension sociale est plus facile non?

J'ai vu voir que quelqu'un a noté le mot " Harvard". Harvard représente pour vous l'université la plus prestigieuse ?

Quelles autres universités sont pour vous les "meilleures" aux Etats-Unis?

J'ai du voir du côté Américain, le mot "corruption", il est vrai qu'en France comme le disait Pierre-Antoine, qu'il y a du piston pour l'acces aux grandes écoles formant l'élite. Mais est-il aussi dur d'accéder aux grandes écoles aux Etats-Unis au point qu'il y ait corruption?


First, what does "avoir du piston" mean? I am thinking of you having a piston that pushes you in... so I guess it means to have connections?

I would say that the entrance into prestigious American universities is mostly based on academic merit. The system is generally quite fair, and I think there is little or no corruption. Further, there are some mechanisms in place to try to prevent the most socially favored people from having a big advantage. For example, at MIT, admissions are blind to your financial situation: if you are admitted and have no money, you get financial aid. Also, they take into account your race (and I think your gender too), to try to make sure that all racial groups are fairly represented (this is related to "affirmative action"). This kind of mechanisms would theoretically increase social mobility. However, I have heard of recent studies that claim that this is not the case. Such studies conclude that, contrary to popular belief, class mobility in the US appears to be lower than in Canada, Britain, Germany, or France (see, e.g., this).

So, Thierry, my bet is that the word "corruption" was associated with Elite because of the corruption of the financial elite (think of Madoff).

Blandine, yes, Harvard is possibly the most prestigious American university. There is a group of New England universities called the Ivy League that are traditionally considered very prestigious (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, ...) There are also newer universities that are very prestigious as well, such as MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Caltech, etc. It also depends on the field: being a lawyer from Harvard is very prestigious, but if you're an engineer, you'd better be from MIT :) Ok, let me explain that MIT and Harvard are located in the same town, and that there is a great deal of (fun) rivalry between their students. So we may be a little biased... but Harvard sucks!!! :-P

What are the most prestigious schools in France?


When I think of the words "corruption" and "elite" together, the corruption of the financially and politically elite of the Gilded Age in the United States comes to mind.  During this time, money and political power were very closely linked, and the "robber barons" like Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan became very rich and incredibly powerful.  Although these people also did good things for the country like sponsoring libraries and other public works, there were also some political actions that made people unhappy.  I wonder if this is part of the reason "elite" is sometimes associated with "corruption" here.

Another reason that I can think of is further back in US history.  We are taught in schools that the US was founded on the principles of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," that the founders of the US were unhappy with the monarchy of England and its "elite."  So, in a country where equality is supposed to be very important, the word "elite" may elicit thoughts of distinct socioeconomic classes and misuse of power.