From One Cultural Investment to Another: Two Generations of FNAC Employees

By Vincent Chabault

From the time of its foundation in 1954, FNAC appeared to be a “special” firm in the sector of mass distribution. Concentrating on the sale of cultural products, FNAC hired a work force which was both highly educated and engaged in trade union activity. By examining the social history of the firm, this article analyses a labor trajectory created by two generations of employees. Recruited in the 1960s and 1970s, the first generation of employees enjoyed relative work autonomy, decent conditions and possibilities for moving up within the company, all of which compensated for their decline in status. The evolution of FNAC since the 1990s has produced a second generation whose members experience deskilled labor, eroding salaries and a more fixed, lasting decline in status. This article uses the case study of a familiar company to study the construction and subsequent destabilization of a work force over the course of two generations.


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