In my food and farming case study, 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 (BSE, Foot and Mouth disease), but also to cheaper food supplies.
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 also use the dispositive (instinctively) in personal terms -
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 accept some simplification from
others, but we still expect a reasonable level of correlation and
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.
I have used the dispositive further as a practical technique on
my food policy site.