The advent of the World through the prism of high school students’ representations of world spaceThèse Nolwenn Azilis

Nolwenn Azilis Rigollet, doctoral student at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, member of the UMR Géographie-cités, associate professor of geography, Lycée Claude Monet, Le Havre, will present her doctoral thesis in Geography entitled: “The world is us: the advent of the World through the prism of representations of the world space in high school students on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm at the Condorcet Campus in Aubervilliers.

The defense will take place in person but the number of places is limited. It will therefore be possible to follow it by video, by completing this document:

This geography thesis focuses on the spatial representations of young people and aims to understand what the “world” means to high school students. Do they think about the Word defined by geographers? Does the World, considered as the spatial representation of a relevant whole and a relational social space, exist beyond scientific geography? The survey took place in four different places in Metropolitan France, in high schools with different enrollment processes, among teenagers aged 14 to 18 from tenth grade to senior year, using a mixed methodology: online questionnaires, graphic representations, and semi-structured interviews.
The thesis first introduces the reasons for the interest in these specific actors, and the associated ethical and deontological issues. Each chapter then analyzes the world of high schoolers as it appears in the research material. The high school students’ views reflect the normative discourse of school and other vectors of socialization, while mechanisms of differentiation are revealed in the representations associated with mobility. These spatial representations of the “world” are diverse and involve important divisions, hierarchies and stereotypes, influenced by the media and school curricula, which are repositories of a methodological nationalism. Nevertheless, both high school students and geographers represent the World as a whole, a geographical feature, or even a territory; it is appropriated by the discourse and projections of future mobility.
The high school students we met were all aware of a common destiny shared by the inhabitants of the World, particularly through the threats to the planet. Although the national framework remains the benchmark for high school students, when they think about the world, they call for it to be transcended.