Monday, October 03, 2005


Says Bourdieu (in Outline of a Theory of Practice, and quoted in Dana Anderson's "Questioning the Motives of Habituated Action"):

The structures constitutive of a particular type of environment . . . produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles of the generation and structuring of practices and representations which can be objectively 'regulated' and 'regular' . . . without being the product of the orchestrating action of a conductor. (72; qtd. in Anderson 263)

Reading Anderson's useful article that brings Bourdieu's theory of practice to bear on Burke's dramatism, I was struck by this word: dispositions. Struck by its implication of an emotional state, as well as by its touching upon structure, both spatially and rhetorically. I need to think about other things (ie, this afternoon's class) right now, but I wanted to get these down as a place holder for future thought. Some definitions to think through later:

disposition Audio pronunciation of "disposition" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dsp-zshn)

1. One's usual mood; temperament: a sweet disposition.
1. A habitual inclination; a tendency: a disposition to disagree.
2. A physical property or tendency: a swelling with a disposition to rupture.
3. Arrangement, positioning, or distribution: a cheerful disposition of colors and textures; a convoy oriented into a north-south disposition.
4. A final settlement: disposition of the deceased's property.
5. An act of disposing; a bestowal or transfer to another.
1. The power or liberty to control, direct, or dispose.
2. Management; control.

From OED:

I. The action or faculty of disposing, the condition of being disposed.

1. a. The action of setting in order, or condition of being set in order; arrangement, order; relative position of the parts or elements of a whole.
1563 W. FULKE Meteors (1640) 24 It comes of the divers disposition of the clouds. 1597 MORLEY Introd. Mus. Annot., In the natural disposition of numbers thus, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1695 WOODWARD Nat. Hist. Earth III. i. (1723) 156 The Disposition of the Strata. 1713 SWIFT Frenzy of J. Denny Wks. 1755 III. I. 139, I then took a particular survey of..the furniture and disposition of his apartment. 1756 BURKE Subl. & B. II. xii, Stonehenge, neither for disposition nor ornament, has anything admirable. 1827 H. STEUART Planter's G. (1828) 15 Single Trees and Bushes, in groups and open dispositions. 1865 GEIKIE Scen. & Geol. Scot. vi. 122 Looking at the disposition of the Highland glens and straths.

c. Rhet. and Logic. The due arrangement of the parts of an argument or discussion.
1509 HAWES Past. Pleas. x. i, The second parte of crafty Rethoryke Maye well be called Disposicion. 1553 T. WILSON Rhet. (1567) 82a, Inuencion helpeth to finde matter, and Disposicion serueth to place argumentes. 1628 T. SPENCER Logick 13. 1788 HOWARD Roy. Cycl. II. 715 Disposition, in Logic, is that operation of the mind, whereby we put the ideas, operations, and arguments, which we have formed concerning our subject, into such an order as is fittest to gain the clearest knowledge of it, to retain it longest, and to explain it to others in the best manner; the effect of this is called method.

d. Arch., etc. The due arrangement of the several parts of a building, esp. in reference to the general design: see quots.
1624 WOTTON Archit. (1672) 14, I may now proceed to the Disposition thereof [i.e. of the matter], which must form the Work. 1706 PHILLIPS (ed. Kersey), Architecture, is the just placing of all the several Parts of a Building, according to their proper Order. c1850 Rudim. Navig. (Weale) 115 Disposition; a draught or drawing representing the several timbers that compose the frame of the ship, so that they may be properly disposed with respect to the ports, &c. 1876 GWILT Encycl. Archit. Gloss., Disposition, one of the essentials of architecture. It is the arrangement of the whole design by means of ichnography (plan), orthography (section and elevation), and scenography (perspective view). 1886 WILLIS & CLARK Cambridge III. 247 The general inclosure within walls, the disposition into courts..all have their the monastic buildings.

2. a. Arrangement (of affairs, measures, etc.), esp. for the accomplishment of a purpose; plan, preparation; condition or complexion of affairs.
1382 WYCLIF Prov. xxiv. 6 For with disposicioun me goth in to bataile; and helthe shal ben wher ben many counseilis. 1604 SHAKES. Oth. I. iii. 237, I craue fit disposition for my Wife..With such Accomodation and besort As leuels with her breeding. 1712 BUDGELL Spect. No. 404 {page}1 In the Dispositions of Society, the civil Oeconomy is formed in a Chain as well as the natural. 1736 BUTLER Anal. Introd. Wks. 1874, I. 8 To judge what particular disposition of things would be most..assistant to virtue. 1814 tr. Klaproth's Trav. 3 My dispositions for the journey would soon have been completed. 1871 MORLEY Voltaire (1886) 317 To observe..those secret dispositions of events which prepared the way for great changes.

3. Ordering, control, management; direction, appointment; administration, dispensation; = DISPOSAL 1. (Cf. DISPOSE v. 2, 7.) arch.
c1374 CHAUCER Troylus II. 477 (526) O god {th}at at {th}i disposicioun Ledest {th}e fyn by luste purueyaunce Of euery wyght. 1382 WYCLIF 2 Chron. xxiii. 18 Forsothe Joiada sette prouostis in the hous of the Lord..after the disposicyoun [1388 by the ordynaunce] of Dauid. 1520 Caxton's Chron. Eng. v. 56b/2 To submytte hym to the dyposycyon of God. 1530 PALSGR. 214/1 Disposytion, disposition, govuernement, ordre. 1582 N. T. (Rhem.) Acts vii. 53 Who receiued the Law by the disposition of [so 1611: R.V. as it was ordained by (marg. or, as the ordinance of)] Angels, and haue not kept it. 1661 BRAMHALL Just Vind. ii. 6 Which things by the just disposition of Almighty God, fell out according to the..desires of these holy persons. 1719 DE FOE Crusoe (1840) II. xii. 262 This seemed to me to be a disposition of Providence. 1841 MYERS Cath. Th. III. §14. 53 Inexpressibly thankful to receive this Law by the disposition of Angels.

From Silva Rhetoricae:

Arrangement (dispositio or taxis) concerns how one orders speech or writing. In ancient rhetorics, arrangement referred solely to the order to be observed in an oration, but the term has broadened to include all considerations of the ordering of discourse, especially on a large scale.


Collin said...

Add Susan Jarratt's "New Dispositions for Historical Studies in Rhetoric" (from Olson's Rhet & Comp as Intellectual Work) to the list of things to think about when you think about it...


Donna said...

Will do! Thanks for the reference. I even own that book (but haven't quite read it all...)