This dossier sets out to examine the pathways of young people who have left school without obtaining at least a school-leaving qualification. Beyond these situations which are institutionally termed "dropping out", it is their pathways which are analysed here, based on surveys conducted with these young people, who were identified from different sources in the different articles.
The notion of a trajectory allows the identification of a certain number of structuring dimensions revealed by these surveys: the different timescales of dropping-out trajectories, breaking points which are more or less precocious, porosity of spheres of life, subjective construction on entry into adulthood, most often at variance with the educational institution.
The dossier consists of four articles. Pierre-Yves Bernard and Christophe Michaut present an analysis of motives given by young people for dropping out, which reveals a multiplicity of registers and pathways. James Masy and Nadège Tenailleau describe the experiences of young dropouts living on the streets, basing their work on an ethnographic survey. Patrice Caro and Agnès Checcaglini use census data to analyse the residential mobility of young dropouts, which is linked to the general process of metropolitanisation. Lastly, Lucy Bell studies the effect of imposed educational pathways on the risk of dropping out, revealing the importance of the educational establishment involved.