Disciplining Change, Displacing Frictions. Two Structural Dimensions of Digital Circulation Across Land Registry Database Integration
Abstract: Data acquire meaning through circulation. Yet most approaches to high-quality data aim to flatten this stratification of meanings. In government, data quality is achieved through integrated systems of authentic registers that reduce multiple trajectories to a single, official one. These systems can be conceived of as technologies to settle “data frictions”, controversies about which configurations of actors, agencies, sources and events produce more reliable data. Data frictions uncover two dimensions of data circulation: not only along the syntagmatic axis of alignment, but also along the paradigmatic axis of replacement. Drawing on empirical research investigating database integration at the Dutch land registry (Kadaster), this article aims to contribute to the theorization of digital circulation by recalling two semiotic dimensions along which circulation happens. It argues that even when complex infrastructures are implemented to discipline change, data frictions are not silenced, but displaced along the syntagmatic/paradigmatic axes.
Keywords: Data frictions; database integration; land registry; data circulation; syntagm; paradigm.