Blog post

The Zad and NoTAV: Making a Territory

Kristin Ross describes the history behind two territorial struggles in Europe and examines their political consequences. 

Kristin Ross18 January 2018

Zad, Notre-Dame-Des-Landes, 2013. via Flickr.

The decision by the French government this week to abandon its plans for a new €580m (£513m) airport at Notre-Dame-Des-Landes lead to jubilant scenes at the Zad. The Zad — Zone à Defendre, a small piece of land near the proposed airport — is site of the longest and largest social struggle in France, and yesterday's decision was seen as a victory for the Zadists. The French state has given the Zadists until the spring to vacate the land, raising the question of what will happen to the struggle. 

Below we present Kristin Ross's introduction to The Zad and NoTAV, in which she describes the history behind the airport project — as well as that of Treno ad Alta Velocità (or TAV), a proposed high-speed train line through the Alps between Turin and Lyon, which has met similar resistance — and examines the political and social consequences of these territorial struggles in Europe. 

In recent years the rise in the number of occupations and attempts to block what have come to be known as "large, imposed, and useless" infrastructural projects bears witness to a new political sensibility. It is as if some time toward the end of the last century, people throughout the world began to realize that the tension between the logic of development and that of the ecological bases of life had become the primary contradiction ruling their lives. And, in many rural and semirural regions throughout the world — in the Larzac in France, for example, or at Sanrizuka (Narita) in Japan — struggles sprang up against state control of land management. These were movements whose particularity lay in being firmly anchored in a particular region or territory. From the 1988 opposition to a large-scale dam on the Xingu River in Altamira, Brazil, through the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, to the Standing Rock Sioux’s recent resistance to the North Dakota Pipeline, situated movements of this kind in the Americas have tended to be characterized by an indigenous base and leadership. The two most emblematic and ongoing European territorial movements, the zad and NoTAV, however, whose intertwined stories are recounted in this book, differ from the American examples in that each holds together and is held together by people of vastly different cultures and practices, with no one social or ethnic group in charge. But by trying to block what the book’s authors call "the inexorableextension of a nightmarish world," they unite with their American counterparts in reconfiguring the lines of conflict of an era. In so doing, they make visible the silhouette of a new political grasp on the everyday and a way of managing common affairs. Henceforth, it seems, any effort to change social inequality will have to be conjugated with another imperative — that of conserving the living. Defending the conditions for life on the planet has become the new and incontrovertible horizon of meaning of all political struggle.

The occupation of a small corner of the countryside outside of the village of Notre-Dame-des-Landes in western France is the site of the longest-lasting battle in the country today. For forty years the construction of an international airport on that spot has threatened to destroy 4,000 acres of agricultural land, wetlands, and woods. In the Susa Valley in the Italian Alps, the quasi-totality of a valley inhabited by 70,000 people has battled for over a quarter of a century the construction of a high-speed train line (Treno ad Alta Velocità or TAV) through the Alps between Turin and Lyon. While it is frequently said of indigenous peoples that they "stand in the way" of progress, in each of these regions in Europe a heterogeneous but highly efficient coalition of people has effectively done just that. They have succeeded in delaying, obstructing, and perhaps, ultimately — time will tell — blocking the progress of construction and the destruction of their regions.

In the first chapter of this book readers will find the most thorough chronology of the two movements available in English — here, though, is a brief sketch of the two projects that generated the opposition.

The Airport and the Train

Justifications for, and sponsors of, a new airport on the outskirts of the city of Nantes in western France have changed over the years since their origins in the dreams and magical thinking of a regional bourgeoisie entranced by the booming developmental rhetoric of the peak years of the Trente Glorieuses. At one point, the airport was slated to be the departure and landing point for the Concorde, in an attempt to relieve Paris of the massive noise pollution this ill-fated technological wonder produced in its relatively brief life. After this, promoters of the project billed it as the third airport for the Greater Paris region. In recent years, it has been rebranded to become instead the "Great Airport of the West," a kind of bid for prominence in the fierce regional competition over accessibility, tourism, and commercial opportunities. But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the project was first floated, one of the earliest (and still worth reading) critiques of the developmental rhetoric promoting it likened the project to the cargo-cults of New Guinea, where simulacra of airport runways were carved out of the brush to attract airplanes. Nantes businessmen believed that "if you build it, they will come": they had decided the industrial destiny of their region was one that could soon make Germans and Japanese tremble. A new airport would transform the Nantes region into the next "airian Rotterdam of Europe." The sum spent on studies designed to give a scientific veneer to the project far exceeded the purchase price of the land needed for its realization — an area regularly described as "almost a desert." This description could only have been the echo of the familiar colonial trope indicating a perceived scarcity of population preceding invasion, since the area chosen was in fact largely wetlands — an environmental category virtually unrecognized in the 1970s.

And so, an area of some 4,000 acres containing several dozen farms was designated in 1974 as the site for the future airport. The area was decreed by the state to be a ZAD, or "zone d’aménagement différé," a zone of deferred development. This administrative status allowed the state time to begin buying up land from farmers willing to sell out or, in the familiar pattern of rural exodus, to buy whenever a farmer died and his children sold out. Yet while the slow process of expropriation was continuing, the energy crisis sunk the overall project into one of the intermittent long naps that mark its history. This one lasted throughout the 1980s and 1990s — the airport was forgotten, not entirely dead but not entirely alive either. In the meantime, though, the zone profited from what could only be called a secondary gain from the illness of having been destined to be one day covered over in concrete: much like Cuba during the Special Period, it had inadvertently been transformed, de facto, into a protected agricultural zone. Developers were hesitant to build near a future airport and no one wanted to live next door — the suburbanization that was befalling much of the area around Nantes was held at bay in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Opposition to the airport by farmers who refused to sell their land, some of whom were active in the Paysans–Travailleurs movement and had supported striking workers during the 1968 insurrection in Nantes, and townspeople living near the zone had gotten underway as soon as the project received administrative approval back in the early 1970s. But it was not until the new century, when the Socialist government under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin pumped life back into the construction agenda, that something resembling the current coalition made up of farmers, townspeople and a new group, squatters and soon-to-be occupiers, began to take shape. With the arrival of the first squatters around 2008, the ZAD (zone d’aménagement différé) became a zad (zone à défendre) — the acronym had been given a new combative meaning by opponents to the project and the administrative perimeter of the zone now designated a set of battle lines. 3

One of the most peculiar aspects of the two infrastructural projects is their redundancy vis-à-vis existing services. An international airport exists already in the city of Nantes and a train line already runs through the Alps (usually operating at less than half capacity) between Turin and Lyon, in central France. Nevertheless, in 1991, a new high-speed line was planned in Italy to be added to the current one as a key element of the east–west corridor linking Lisbon to Budapest initially, and ultimately to Kiev. The initial goal of the project, a joint partnership between French and Italian governments and the European Union, was to enhance the movement of passengers and tourists, while also facilitating the integration of managers and corporate executives, between Italy and the Rhône region in France. Subsequently, the future train had been refunctioned to be used mainly for the transport of freight, despite the fact that the flow of goods between France and Italy has declined steadily since the beginning of the new century. 4 

The project elicited little opposition on the French side of the Alps. On the Italian side, however, in the Susa Valley, an area with a complex economy based in industry, agriculture, and tourism, and a historically united population known for its anti-fascist resistance and earlier opposition to infrastructural projects, reaction against their valley being transformed into nothing more than a transit corridor was swift, with the first coordinated group of citizen opposition organized in 1994.

Space-specific, geographically defined struggles have a kind of refreshing flat-footedness about them. David Harvey has suggested this is because the fact of being bound to a particular space creates an either-or dialectic — something quite distinct from a transcendental or Hegelian one. Demands, concerns, and aspirations that are place-specific in kind create a situation that calls for an existential and political choice — one is either for the airport or against it. In the words of Marx to Vera Zasulich, writing in the context of an earlier rural battle against the state, "It is a question no longer of a problem to be solved, but simply of an enemy to be beaten . . . it is no longer a theoretical problem . . . it is quite simply an enemy to be beaten." 6 

A 57 kilometre tunnel will either be drilled through the Alps or it will not. An airport will either be built on farmland or it will not. Other countries know this well. In the most stirring and significant precedent to Notre-Dame-des-Landes, expropriation of farmland for the Tokyo Narita airport in Japan started in 1966, and by 1971 a decade of murderous battles between the state and farmers who refused to give up their lands, supported nimbly by far-left Zengakuren, had begun. It was these highly exemplary, even Homeric battles, immortalized in the films of Shinsuke Ogawa and Yann Le Masson — what I have come to regard as among the most defining combats of the worldwide 1960s — which, according to the testimony of many French militants of the era, inspired their own frontal and physical clashes with the police in the streets of Paris and other French cities. Breton documentary maker Le Masson’s film of the Narita battles, Kashima Paradise, screened in Nantes in the early 1970s, brought the Japanese example to the attention of early opponents in Notre-Dame-des-Landes. But the Japanese experience was not singular. A little earlier, an economic boom nourished an urge in Canada to build, outside of Montreal, and in time for the 1976 Olympics, what was destined to briefly become the largest airport in the world. Against the vigorous protest of the 12,000 farmers removed from their land, the Mirabel airport was built. But it was soon judged to be too far from the city and usage faded away in favour of the old Montreal airport. Mirabel was converted to a freight airport, but even that did not prove lucrative — for many years its desolate and empty terminal was used as a film set. Canadian prime ministers attempted to lure evicted farmers back to the region, with little success. In 2014 the terminal building was demolished at a cost of $15 million.

But it is Spain — home of the proliferating "ghost airport" phenomenon — that provides the best contemporary example of the pillaging of public funds for useless structures. 8 With a population of 47 million people, Spain now houses 52 airports. (Germany, a country with double the population of Spain, has 39). Out of those 52 Spanish airports over two-thirds are failing — in some, no aircraft ever lands or takes off. Yet the airports are staffed and maintained at enormous expense.


I did not know much about the zad before I was invited there to participate in a discussion on communal imaginaries, but I knew enough to bring a pair of rubber boots as I had heard the place described, rather unappealingly, as a swamp. When I mentioned this to my hosts they firmly corrected me — I was not in a swamp, I was in a bocage. Translating this book, the word "bocage" posed a problem, mostly because the bocage is, as far as I can tell, a landscape unknown in the Americas, because of our lack of a feudal history. The problem is not unlike that of Antonio Gramsci, who as a young Sardinian student attending school on the mainland, wrote an essay about a woodland animal from his island, a snake-like creature with legs, but could not find the Italian word to name it. There is no name, his teacher told him, because such an animal does not exist. At first I tried "copse" — obscure to Americans but known to the British — until I finally settled on the English "bocage" — a little-used, long-ago borrowing from the French to mean "little woods." A bocage is actually a mosaic of prairies and cultivated fields of variable shapes and sizes, enclosed and separated by shrubs, hedges and clusters of trees. As Anne Berger points out, it is, by all measures, a modest landscape, one that is on a human scale, or to be less anthropocentric, a scale conducive to humans and smallish animals like rabbits and small deer, or river fish. There is nothing sublime or transcendent about a bocage — the vast vistas needed to unleash soaring sentiments are lacking. The eye is always stopped by a hedge which, even if it limits the gaze, does not block physical entry. You can always jump over a hedge or walk through a wood — in the end, the only way to experience the contours of a bocage is really by moving through it. Geographer-novelist Julien Gracq, close witness to the mutation of the French countryside and a great amateur of the bocages of his native region, wrote that nothing had marked his generation more than the unbelievably unchanging nature of the rural and urban landscape in France for more than third of a century — between 1914 and 1950. Everything, it seems, changed at a very rapid pace during the Second Empire, through the Belle Époque, and up until 1914. And everything resumed that chaotic pace again, beginning in the 1950s. In between, though, time was frozen. 10 Yet even during that stationary moment, Gracq foresaw the fragility of the bocage and the sad fate awaiting it. In a radio interview in 1977, he commented:

I remember when I wrote a little article on the bocage for the Annales de Géographie in 1934 where I said that the bocage would soon be gone, that it would die from social transformation. The editor was frightened by that kind of peremptory judgment. But in fact, the bocage did disappear, or is in the process of disappearing, perhaps for reasons other than the ones I predicted. 11 

Anyone who has driven through large swathes of the French countryside in recent years has witnessed, perhaps without realizing it, the forces that destroyed the bocage: a kind of rural reification and aggressive "redistricting" process familiar to urbanists, which in the countryside is called "remembrement." Mobilized most intensively throughout the 1980s and 1990s, "remembrement" occurs when a territory that allowed subsistence is reoriented and restabilized to maximize profits. With the arrival of large farm machinery, hedges and other natural obstructions were leveled to create vast single-owner agribusiness parcels for mono-cultural cultivation, especially in Brittany. Today, there is a growing recognition of the important ecological degradation in the form of water pollution and soil erosion that occurs when water-retaining shrubs and trees are destroyed in this way. But the process continues.

Yet the polemic unleashed by Notre-Dame-des-Landes and the Susa Valley cannot be seen simply as one of technology versus nature. Consider the specificity of the two territories in question and the genesis of their landscapes. The Susa Valley is as far from a pristine Alpine "Heidi" environment as one can imagine. Historically a prime strategic point for conquerors from Hannibal to Caesar to pass through, it is now a highly urbanized area that bears the scars of earlier modernization efforts and transportation construction — the valley is crossed by major motorways leading to the Fréjus tunnel. And nothing in the history of a bocage lends itself to a cult of pure nature or the pastoral dynamic of retreat. What Raymond Williams used to call "the sweetness of the place" is always a construction — and one made in part out of interventions and influences from the outside. 12 A bocage is, as Gracq points out, an artificial formation, a very human endeavour, or better, the result of neither man nor nature alone but of their alliance. A bocage is not on the side of nature or on the side of humanity against nature. We might see it as an enduring record or testimony to the lives and works of the humans and non-humans who have dwelt within it. The bocage offers a graceful example of the way in which nature is, above all, historical. For it was the peasantry as a form of collective life that fashioned the bocage over centuries, and without the use of machines. And — irony of ironies — in a place like the zad where right now the question of the common use of a territory is the most pressing one of the day, the creation of the bocage, historically, corresponded to the end of communal usage of land in Brittany: the hedges were first and foremost enclosures delimiting and attributing land parcels to individuals or groups of peasants who were allowed to farm them in return for a portion of crops given over to the landowner. The bocage was a segmentation of space resulting from the privatization of the commons. And now, in a kind of delightful paradox, in the form of the zad it has come to figure as the possibility of restitution, a kind of restitution of the land back to the collective. Where once people fought the bocage to defend the commons, now it is the bocage that is defended as a common good. 13 

Neither can the battles of Notre-Dame-des-Landes and the Susa Valley, as they emerge in the pages of this book, be understood in terms of the usual confrontation between, on the one hand, those who know, the sujets supposés savoir, the allegedly neutral technocrats and policy experts, and, on the other, the uninformed who must learn to abandon their narrow and myopic self-interest and submit to "progress" in the service of the general good. It is a war between two dueling logics, two argumentations, two knowledges, two futures that I will call, for now, the "airworld" versus the territory. The two knowledges are, of course, not symmetrical in terms of the power behind them. For the airworld, it is the global luxury trade, the third of the world’s traded goods — the iPads, Peruvian roses, and farmed salmon now flown by air — which is powering world growth and which is what, in fact, now and in the final determining instance, matters. 14 Market laws, which continue to be as indisputable as they are indemonstrable, still decree that infrastructure equals the modernization that fuels economic growth. The quality prized above all others here seems to be frictionlessness — the ability to move people and goods in and out as quickly and effortlessly as possible. To this end, cities need to connect more easily and intensely to each other than to the towns, villages, and countryside just beyond their borders — these last are, of course, now destined to slow or precipitous but, in any case inevitable, decline. As for the cities, these would become nothing more than high-density urban centers linked to intercontinental neighbourhoods. People and things, torn from their living entanglements, are freed to become mobile investments in a world where the fungibility of space is taken as a given.

The making of a territory, as this book narrates the process in two very different regions, is the making of a place that, precisely, cannot be exchanged for any other. If what matters for the airworld is a smooth and seamless transit between substitutable spaces, for the territory what matters has everything to do with a logic of difference and possibility, autonomy and self-determination: the perpetuation of the possibilities of common life that place-based social relations can create, even amidst a striking diversity of beliefs. Where once the territory’s fight was with the airport or the train-line, it is no longer with high-speed transport per se, but with its world: a world of class- division that identifies human progress with economic growth and defines human needs in terms of markets and the submission of all the world’s resources to markets. The high-speed world is one in which the value of any item of earthly life is calculated according to its service to capital. Preventing one’s territory from becoming a mere node in a global capitalist system, a space of pure transit where people do nothing more than pass through, is a way of stabilizing in time — and perhaps even, with luck, a lifetime — a way of life that lies at least partially outside of and against the state and the market.

And it is the ability of these movements to have stabilized in time, to fashion new and creative ways of inhabiting a conflict, which emerges as one of the most important elements of their stories. For these struggles are what the Maoists used to call "protracted wars" — children, even grandchildren of early opponents are now implicated in the struggles. Ogawa’s filming of the "Mama’s Brigades" during the Narita battles makes this vividly clear. Their sheer duration is a vital factor in creating a different relationship to the territory than shorter-lived occupations like Taksim, Occupy, or Madrid — not coincidentally, all urban occupations. As Peter Kropotkin pointed out in his re-writing of the history of the Paris Commune in The Conquest of Bread, proximity to and involvement with the means of subsistence is essential not only to the duration of a movement but to establishing a lived intimacy with the territory. At the heart of that relationship is a form of embeddedness that this book’s authors describe as the breakdown in daily life of any distinction between dwelling in a territory and defending it. With the passage of time, however, the nature of what is being defended changes. Where once it may have been an unpolluted environment or agricultural land, what is defended as the struggle deepens now comes to include all the new social links, solidarities, affective ties, and lived entanglements that the struggle produced. Any place owes its character to the experiences it affords to those who dwell in it or spend time there, and these include the new physical relation — what Gaston Bachelard called the "muscular consciousness" of the territory — something that derives in part from the seasonal rhythm of agricultural labour and in part from physical combat during the many skirmishes and battles with the forces of order. And in both the Susa Valley and Notre-Dame-des-Landes these physical battles with the state have been severe. Perhaps for this reason, the new relationship to the territory also includes the reawakening of its past rebel history: the anti-fascist resistance in the Susa Valley, or a vernacular commune-precedent to the zad like the Commune de Nantes in 1968. Defending the territory in a protracted war comes to entail defending the very collective life project that has taken shape there during its defense — a project that, as Escobar suggests, may include the very concept of territoriality itself. 15 To the extent that the concept nurtures a certain autonomy and will to self-determination akin to what Raymond Williams theorized as "militant particularism," this seems to be the case in the two struggles. The notion of a territory helps create an environment that, in Williams’ words, can be "received and made and remade," actively molded and achieved through work, play and battle. 16 It creates in the dweller an experiential center or standpoint from which to perceive the greater world, a mode of apprehension based on being actively engaged in the labour, practices, and material details of conducting life collectively at the daily level — cultivating, building, caring for animals, assembling a library.

A smaller-scale and more circumscribed territory like the zad may lend itself more easily to fashioning a productive form of livable secession than the vast Susa Valley. This was what William Morris, for one, believed — direct management of one’s own affairs can occur only on a scale small enough that each person "can take pleasure in all the details of life." 17 The NoTAV movement numbers in the tens of thousands dispersed throughout a large region, while the zad’s residents, whose exact number is unknown since the most recent administrative census could find no volunteers willing to enter the zone to take an official count, are perhaps a couple hundred, only swelling to the tens of thousands on the days of mass mobilization in the face of impending evacuation. Experiments at the zad include, but are not limited to, a weekly "non-market" to distribute vegetables, collective use of lands, the embrace of what the Parisian Communards called "communal luxury" — the aesthetic, pleasurable dimension of all labour, in any number of examples. 18 To cite again one of communal luxury’s most adept exponents, William Morris: "the true secret of happiness lies in the taking of interest in all the details of daily life, in elevating them by art instead of handing the performance of them over to unregarded drudges." 19 This is a version of happiness proven to provoke aggravation and retaliation on the part of the state. "If it has become so crucial for the political classes to crush the zad, it is because the zad constitutes an insolent demonstration of a life that is possible without them. A better life . . ." 20 Left to its own devices, which is not at all certain to be the case, the zad’s future points to a becoming-commune. But this book shows militants in the Susa Valley also undergoing a substantial transformation of their daily life by re-owning it, by and through political struggle, and becoming fully accountable for it. Thus, the importance granted to those creative movement-driven inventions and forms of sociability like the presidii (protest sites) in the Susa Valley that are at once banquets, meeting places, and shelters.

In both cases, defending a territory from the outset brought together extremely eclectic and diverse groups of people around that goal. The never-ending process of soldering together black bloc anarchists and nuns, retired farmers and vegan lesbian separatists, lawyers and autonomistas into a tenacious and effective community is what the authors call "composition," and the story of its unfolding is, to my mind, the most compelling part of the book. This is the daily drama of unexpected encounters, of co-existing, sharing space, coordinating, recognizing difference, undergoing existential overhaul, and, above all, learning to avoid the temptation of trying to convert others to the superiority of one’s practices, whether these be spreading counter information, hunger strikes, the fastidious preparation of legal appeals, nocturnal sabotage, naturalist surveys to document the endangered species among the flora and fauna of the zone, or frontal confrontations with the police. And it is what is meant by the book’s subtitle: "the making of a new political intelligence." "In the act of holding diverse elements together," write the authors, "it is more a question of tact than tactics, passion than sad necessities, and opening up the field than carving up the terrain."

The phenomenon of solidarity in diversity is mirrored in another "composition" as well: the formal decisions the authors have made in recounting its achievement almost entirely through the voices of those who built it. This book is not an anti-state manifesto or an abstract treatise. While highly theoretical, very little time is wasted on theoretical edifices or citational strategy. It does not prophesize the coming insurrection but instead recounts — from the inside, for the authors are themselves actively engaged in the struggles they narrate — two insurrections in progress. Telling the two stories together, in a productive entanglement that isolates moments of convergence, while allowing each struggle its own history, poetry and praxis, is not only difficult — it is itself an exemplary exercise in solidarity in diversity. The narrative choice to relate the movements almost entirely in the individual voices of their protagonists mirrors the authors’ territorial commitments and it also leads to something quite new in the creation of a tableau of what revolution might look like today. The personal testimonies are not merely called upon to provide context or local colour to the dominant story, as is so frequently the case. They certainly do this, and very vividly, but they also move the plot forward in time, providing key eye-witness depictions of dramatic moments in their sagas; they enact conflicting viewpoints and commentary on strategy debates; they reflect on the reasons behind particular choices made under given conditions — choices that are the very essence of historical change; they theorize their own commitments and conflicts. They show the forceful role of women in every aspect of the struggle — something I have witnessed myself at the zad. Often intensely personal, the voices reach beyond to a common flow. And as such, those who speak are not mere data, illustrations, or foot-soldiers to a pre-existing theory or revolutionary prediction but the flesh, blood, and thought of the movements they are making.


1. See Arturo Escobar, Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).

2. See Jean de Legge and Roger Le Guen, Dégage! . . . On aménage, Collection ‘La province trahie’. (Les Sables-d’Olonne: Editions le Cercle d’or, 1976). For a critical history of the developmental rhetoric and policies undergirding French postwar economic growth, see Céline Pessis, Sezin Topçu, and Christophe Bonneuil, Une autre histoire des ‘Trente Glorieuses’: Modernisation, contestations et pollutions dans la France d’après-guerre (Paris: La Découverte, 2013). Here and elsewhere, translations from the French are mine.

3. The new definition of the acronym has entered the Grand Robert dictionary in France: a "zad" is defined as "a (frequently rural) zone that militants occupy to oppose a development project damaging to the environment."

4. See Michele Monni, "Italian Politics and the NoTAV Movement: The Resiliency or Failure of Citizen Activism?" and Lucie Greyl, Hali Healy, Emanuele Leonardi, and Leah Temper, "Stop That Train! Ideological Conflict and the TAV," in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment, n. 2 (2012).

5. David Harvey, Spaces of Hope (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 164–75.

6. "Marx-Zasulich Correspondence: Letters and Drafts," in Teodor Shanin, Late Marx and the Russian Road: Marx and the Peripheries of Capitalism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), p. 116.

7. See David Apter and Nagayo Sawa, Against the State: Politics and Social Protest in Japan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984).

8. See Christine Delphy, "B comme Béton,"

9. See Anne Berger, "B comme Bocage,"

10. See Julien Gracq, Lettrines 2 (Paris: José Corti, 1974).

11. Julien Gracq, radio interview, France Culture (1977) cited in Jean-Louis Tissier, "De l’esprit géographique dans l’oeuvre de Julien Gracq," in Espace géographique, p. 58. See also Poirier, Louis (Julien Gracq), "Bocage et plaine dans le sud de l’Anjou," in Annales de Géographie, t. 32, n. 241, 1934, pp. 22–31.

12. Raymond Williams, cited in David Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 27.

13. See "A la lisière du bocage,"

14. For a vivid enactment of the future according to the "airworld," see John Kasarda and Greg Lindsey, Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2011). See also Will Self’s review of Aerotropolis in the London Review of Books, April 28, 2011, pp. 10–11.

15. Escobar, Territories of Difference, p. 68.

16. Williams, cited in Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, p. 29. Harvey argues that it is in the novels set in the Black Mountains of Wales that Williams analyzes the productive relationship between local embeddedness or "militant particularism" and the abstract understanding of the wider realm of global capitalism.

17. William Morris, "The Society of the Future," in May Morris (ed.) William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist (New York: Russel and Russel, 1966), p. 459.

18. See Kristin Ross, Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune (London: Verso, 2015)

19. William Morris, "The Aims of Art," in Signs of Change (London: Longmans, 1903), p. 137.

20. Mauvaise Troupe Collective, "Unconditional Vals vs. the Zad" (trans.) Kristin Ross. Editorial, Le Monde, October 2016.

[book-strip index="1" style="display"]
The Zad and NoTAV
At a time of ever more accelerated and expanded development of natural and agricultural territory, in the aim of making targeted areas more profitable and controllable, there are inhabitants who op...
Communal Luxury
Kristin Ross’s new work on the thought and culture of the Communard uprising of 1871 resonates with the motivations and actions of contemporary protest, which has found its most powerful expression...

Filed under: ecology, france, infrastructure, pariscommune, political-theory, zad