Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sciences Po Changes Its Doctoral Program

Details here. With its affirmative action admissions policies, tuition fees, and now reformed doctoral program, Sciences Po has broken with the standard French university model in significant ways. Will it set an example for future changes across the university system? Or will it be rejected as alien to the spirit of French education? I invite your comments.

The Center Cannot Hold bis

Well, it seems that the exclusive post-G20 summit conference that Sarko and Blair announced right after the Washington get-together, much to the consternation of George Bush, who wasn't invited, was actually the brainchild of Eric Besson, or so he says. Besson also sees a bit of crowding in the mushy middle of the political spectrum:

Les centres, du Nouveau Centre d'Hervé Morin au Parti radical de Jean-Louis Borloo, en passant par Jean-Marie Bockel, Jean-Marie Cavada et mon mouvement, Les Progressistes, auraient pu essayer de se regrouper et créer un second parti à l'intérieur de la majorité.

That's a lot of centers: sort of reminds me of that saying of Pascal about the universe, whose center is everywhere and periphery nowhere. And Besson, though a recent transfuge from Socialism, isn't even counting the equally numerous "centrists" in the majority: Royal, Delanoë, Moscovici, DSK, Aubry even, when you come right down to it. It's a regular epidemic of centrism. Only the trick is, that in order to win the presidency, you have to appeal to your periphery as well as your center, and so far that secret has been vouchsafed only to Sarkozy, which explains Besson's sarkotropism. The center cannot hold: in this perception Yeats saw the seeds of tragedy, but perhaps it was only a definition of "the center."