Commemorative Plaques and Memory: The Case of the SNCF

Communication Assets of Network Companies
By Nicolas Fasseur

Why do we lay commemorative plaques? The hypothesis by which we can answer this question is complex. It must include the tensions between history and memory, describe how memory is localised on a territory, and finally sketch out a typology of memory. We focus on the very specific, but also numerous, commemorative plaques from 20th century conflicts laid in SNCF premises, which are at once the working places for SNCF employees and spaces open to the public. In this case a genealogical memory is at work, localised in the private space of the property of a network company which covers the French national territory. How does this memory contribute to the culture of the company? Do the memorials aim at building and maintaining a specific company memory? Are they vectors of culture in the SNCF? How does the work of memory shape culture and whose concern is this culture?

Go to the article on