Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/01/2016 - 22:17

The Dispositive is the idea that there is one system of knowledge which links:-

  • Discourse - which is a flow or reservoir of knowledge
  • Events - which are formed by decisions, which are implementations of this knowledge
  • Objects - which are created by people using their specialist knowledge, such as sciences, technology, design, etc.

The Dispositive provides a link between discourse and physical plane events and objects, and I have written about the theoretical bases of this on my Discourse Toolbox website and to some extent reproduced the same material here in a short Disposite Theory section

The Dispositive is one of those all-embracing concepts which can include almost everything there is. Other examples of this type of concept are soul, anima mundi, the mental plane, and prakriti. The dispositive may relate to these concepts, but it also has some practical uses.

In my study of food and farming, the dispositive reveals gaps in the coherence of collective thoughts - an example of this is the BSE crisis, where my summary of this crisis using the dispositive is - The application of a familiar discourse (industry) to a new area of knowledge (food production), has given rise to several events with negative consequences (BSE, Foot and Mouth disease), and also to cheaper food supplies. I think this is a more satisfactory description of the situation than most others.

I would add that the dispositive can also be applied to the physical products from the food industry. These are often marketed and packaged in ways which maintain a fantasy in the mind of the buyer about the way they are produced - they appear to be rural rather than industrial products. This shows a gap in the dispositive between discourses and products.

We sometimes use the dispositive instinctively in personal relations - if there is a deep mis-match between someones thoughts, words and actions, then we lose trust in them. We all select which of our thoughts to put into words, so we sometimes simplify them, and we usually accept this also from others, within limits - we still expect a reasonable level of correlation between their thoughts, words and actions.

The dispositive may be useful in its implication that discourse, objects and events are deeply intertwined, and bound together by varieties of knowledge, and that this should be coherent. Any lack of coherence (or cracks in the structure) will generally show that the discourses are not adequate to describe reality.

However, we all "paper over the cracks" sometimes while we deal with other priorities. (I do this myself too)