‘The Dispositive’: Foucault’s Concept for Organizational Analysis?

Kaspar Villadsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Foucault’s notion ‘the dispositive’ has been introduced in organization studies as a highly promising concept. However, its analytical and empirical potentials remain to be fully explored. This article develops dispositional analytics which conceives of organizations as pervaded by multiple dispositives that interact, reinforce or contradict one another. In this reconstruction, particular emphasis is given to the visibility produced by dispositives, through which subjects and object emerge in a particular prescriptive light. Furthermore, analytical privilege is given to relations over substance. This means foregrounding the interrelations between dispositives as well as the dispositive’s ‘internal relationality’, that is, the relations established by each dispositive out of which organizational problems arise and transform. The framework’s potentials are explored in a study of care workers’ responses to a management reform that disciplined and depersonalized care-giving. The difficulties that care workers faced in straddling legal demands, service standardization and care ethics are understood as a situation of heterogeneous dispositions. In this context, care workers and their managers tactically reconstructed their subjectivities, relating to the dispositives in diverse and unexpected ways
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalOrganization Studies
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)473-494
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: 4 December 2019


    • Care ethics
    • Deleuze
    • Discipline
    • Dispositive
    • Elderly Care
    • Foucault
    • Law
    • Security

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