Abstract - The Information Society 25(5)

Of Boundary Objects and Boundaries: Local Stabilization of the Polish Cadastral Infrastructure

Francis Harvey

The cadastre is an infrastructure of institutions, humans, and non-humans. Its role in governance is the provision of a systematic organization of land ownership, rights, and responsibilities. The cadastral infrastructure's information needs to correspond to actual uses of land if it is to be of continued use in governance. In effect, as an important governmental information space, it needs to also correspond to geographic and social spaces. For many reasons the boundary objects making up the cadastral infrastructure can be unstable— delays in processing changes and conflicting competencies are commonplace. Larger instabilities including civil unrest, war, and persistent corruption produce profound asymmetries and distortions. Following centuries of disruption, ongoing attempts to augment cadastral infrastructures in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe offer opportunities to probe and analyze the stabilization of cadastral infrastructures. Poland, which never saw complete collectivization and retained a cadastral infrastructure, offers an exemplary cadastral infrastructure for study, its uniqueness bringing out many tensions still nascent in neighboring countries.


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