Collective memory uses space as a catalyst. Far from being fixed, it is constructed through a process of accumulation maintained by commemorative rituals and the evolution of the referential of a collectively recognized past. 

If we understand collective memory as a continuous process, it is because we must understand it as always contested and as a crucial place of social antagonism. FRAME, in saving the monuments that until then housed the elites and embodied in their architecture the power of the monarchy, is aware of this.

As says the economist and researcher Geneviève Azam, the recognition of the past and its living conservation are not necessarily conservative in the regressive sense of the term, because they do not signify acquiescence. The denial of the past, its levelling out, its transformation into inert museums or “places” of memory, on the other hand, carry a risk of repetition.

As “We often understand collective memory as connected to specific sites in which a specific community of people recognizes indications of past events worthy of recalling. Collective memory, thus, uses space as a kind of repository of meaning, open to those who know how to navigate their way in an inhabited environment marked by socially recognizable indicators. 

However, this understanding of the relationship between space and memory is only partial. First of all it implies a role for the members of a society or social group that defines them as mere reader of sings. Collective memory, accordingly, is considered as a process of establishing and accumulating, through education and commemorative rituals, meaningful references to a collectively recognized past. 

If, however, we understand collective memory as a always-in-the-making, if we understand collective memory as always contested, being a crucial arena for social antagonism, then we should try to locate the different ways in which space is employed in such a dynamic process.”

“The spatial metaphor says a lot more than simply describing memory and oblivion as always separated and differentiated. (…) If memory and oblivion were to be connected to space, to space as it is socially perceived, then it would have to be space in the process of being defined, moulded and created by social actors in their contesting gestures to capture an meaningful past.”

“Memory, while being contested, not only employs space, but also transforms space.”

Stavros STAVRIDES, Common Space : The City as Commons, London, Zed Books, 2016, p. 183-184

Geneviève AZAM, Le temps du monde fini : vers l’après capitalisme, Paris, Liens qui libèrent, 2010, 221 pages