Sonja Schüler: Über Anti-Struktur, Grenzgänger und Repräsentationssysteme. Kampf um Autonomie in Notre-Dame-des-Landes


This contribution examines the so-called ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a municipality near the city of Nantes in the Western French department Loire-Atlantique. Officially, the abbreviation ZAD stands for the term “designated development area”, zone d’aménagement différé. For decades the site was intended to be the building zone of a large airport project. The opponents of this infrastructure project reinterpreted the abbreviation ZAD: in their understanding and common parlance it means zone to defend- zone à défendre. Within the scope of large-scale protest against the airport project the site had been occupied since 2009. The article examines whether and to what extent the occupied ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes could be described as a socially critical threshold space. In this context it seeks to explore the socio-critical potential and its spatial components with reference to geographical characteristics, location and ideas related aspects as well as action-related factors. The contribution refers to the situation in the first half of the year 2015, before the official abandonment of the airport project and the evacuation of the site. Due to the high dynamic of the developments within the ZAD the findings discussed in this article should be regarded as a “snapshot.”