Skip to content

Bussolini (2010) 'What is a dipositive?'

This article investigates Foucault's use of the term 'dipositif' and argues that the distinction between 'appareil' and 'dispositif' is in fact an important one that has been obscured by the use of the term 'apparatus' in english translations and discussions.

Publication date: 

The distinct French and Italian concepts of appareil/apparato and dispositif/ dispositivo have frequently been rendered the same way as ‚apparatus‛ in English. This pre- sents a double problem since it collapses distinct conceptual lineages from the home languages and produces a false identity in English. While there are good reasons for which translators have chosen to use ‛apparatus‛ for dispositif, there is growing cause for evaluating the theo- retical and empirical specificity of each concept, and either to rethink the rendering as ‛appa- ratus‛ or to keep in mind the specific philosophical trajectories of each one. In particular, the ongoing release of Michel Foucault’s Collège de France lecture courses (in which the term is frequently used), and the essays by Gilles Deleuze and Giorgio Agamben bearing directly on the dispositif and the dispositivo present a strong case for reevaluating the usage and rendering of these concepts. This paper presents a number of minute considerations on the productive distinction between them.

Bussolini - 2010 - What is a dispositive.pdf760.12 KB