International audienceA model of hereditary social reproduction dominated French high education in the 18th century. The students of the École du génie in Mézières took advantage of the geographical disparities of the space in which they lived at three levels, for their training, their social legitimacy or their own autonomy. The objective of this spatial approach is to show that two kinds of spaces (a perceived space - where the technique of engineer could be expressed - and a lived space - the space of social representation of student identity) determined two kinds of social legitimacy. On the one hand, there was a student legitimacy (as a community of interest with a strong and shared collective identity). On the other hand there was an engineer legitimacy (by the spatial inscription of knowledge).Au XVIIIe siècle, les élèves de l'École du génie de Mézières, formés dans un contexte de reproduction sociale héréditaire, mettent à profit les disparités géographiques de l'espace dans lequel ils vivent au service de leur formation, de leur légitimité sociale ou de leur autonomie. Trois types de territoires sont en particulier définis : un territoire sous contrôle, un territoire malléable, et un territoire investi
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