What is the Mattering of Homeless Being-in-the-world? David M. Boje Aug 16 2015

What is Mattering?  

For the homeless and the care-givers, what ‘matters’ is the ‘mattering’ of ‘care’ and ‘concern.’  This is inseparable from the spatiality of care, and the temporality of care, the these together in spacetimemattering. 

Now the question, is what is ‘spacetimemattering’ and how do various sociomateriality theorists approach it differently.  Here I will explore the antenarrative encounters that can ‘matter’ to it, grounded in an already disclosed world-as something spacetimemattering, ontologically, and for Heidegger such a mood is underlying the ontical, and is interactive with it. We shall contrast his focus on the interplay of ontologic-ontico with the agential realism of Barad.

Tonya Henderson and I (2015) in our new book say this about ‘timespacemattering‘ that we intend something ontological, part of quantum storytelling, a sociomateriality standpoint that is fractal in its scalability. We critique the separation thesis (socio is separate from material), or one overpowers the other, the balance (socio and material forces in balance) and take a serious look at the reconfiguration model (one reconfigures the other, iteratively) See study guides in fractals.

But until now we have left the definition of ‘mattering’ obscure.

Last year’s book (2014, Being Quantum) we said that rather than a Joe Friday (Dragnet), “Just the Facts!” that “It is bounded in timespacemattering only if we, the observers, choose to make it so. ”  The Observer Effect, then is constitutive of shifts in timespacemattering, but how is left unexplored. In the other book I wrote (Boje, 2015, Change Solutions to the Chaos of Standards and Norms Overwhelming Organizations: Four Wings of Tetranormalizing), I say about ‘timespacemattering’ is about ‘dynamic patterns’ which are fractal. That too, leaves mattering undefined.

The closest I have come to a definition is an online book (Boje, 2010, Quantum Storytelling, online revised 2012: p. 22, not published in print):

“Storytelling (agential realism) is not just a sensemaking or linguistic account, it is also about mattering. Barad wants to use quantum physics’ intra-play with what I call storytelling to develop a posthumanist approach.

Let’s start with my Bardian ‘agential realism’ approach: “Storytelling is the teleological movement that arises from timespacemattering” (Boje, 2010/2012: p. 24). Scott and Orlikowski (2013) would no doubt say that I, like Barad, am taking sociomateriality along the wrong turn.

Scott and Orlikowski (2013) begin by challenging the article by Mutch, who claims agential realism is not useful for studying “the combinations of the social and the material” (Mutch, 2013 p. 28, 32).  This is because the basic standpoint of Barad (2007) is that ‘social’ and ‘material’ are not separate entities. The implication for storytelling is to inquire into the specific details of the apparatus that produces storytelling sociomateriality. A sociomateriality turn means taking leave form the representationalism of narrative (or narratology). Antenarrative, in sociomaterial terms, is a move away from representationalism, to the sociomaterial-storytelling, i.e. “material-discursive practices enacted through apparatus that simultaneously constitute and organize phenomena” (Scott & Orlikowski, 2013: 79). In addition, “Mutch suggests that sociomateriality is not adequate for investigating large, data intensive enterprise systems (Mutch, 2013 p. 28, 32)” (IBID., p. 79).

What does Barad (2003: 817) say:

“Reality is not composed of things-in-themselves or things behind-phenomena but “things”-in-phenomena. The world is intraactivity in its differential mattering” … “The world is an ongoing open process of mattering through which “mattering” itself acquires meaning and form in the realization of different agential possibilities.”

Barad (2003: 820) stresses that “… apparatuses are specific material practices through which local semantic and ontological determinacy are intra-actively enacted. That is, apparatuses are the exclusionary practices of mattering through which intelligibility and materiality are constituted. Apparatuses are material (re)configurings/discursive practices that produce material phenomena in their discursively differentiated becoming.”

Elsewhere (Barad: xxxx: 331) “Knowing requires differential accountability to what matters and is excluded from mattering.”

Next I want to take a Heideggerian look at sociomateriality. Whereas Barad’s (2003: 829) standpoint is the “Onto-epistem-ology” the interplay of ontology with epistemology, Heidegger (1962: #14-16) is ontico-ontologic, the interplay of ontic (post-positivist, or empiricist) with ontological (i.e. Being-in-the-world). The difference is storytelling as interactivity of materiality with discourse of Barad, versus the storytelling as ontologic interactivity with ontical of Heidegger.


Figure from Boje – antenarrative study guide online: Heidegger is between the ontic and ontological, while Barad pursues the intra-activity of epistemic (discourse) with an ontology of materialism.

What is mattering that matters to Heidegger? 

For Heidegger ‘what matters’ environmentally’ is “living along in “everyday concernful matter” (#410).

The mood that assails me arises out of Being-in-the-world (Heidegger, 1962: #137). Antenarrative is such a mood of attunement, environmentally “Being-in-the-world as a whole” (Heidegger, 1962: #137).  Here we develop an antenarrative attunement, a directionality and de-severance, not a psychology of emotion or feeling, nor sensemaking, rather the sense of a mood of attunement environmentally. The antenarrative is already Being beforehand to narrative and living story, within-the-world environmentally encountered in “circumspective concern” that “can ‘matter to it in this way” (Heidegger, 1962: #137).

Storytelling can be seen as the “Articulation of the understanding of Being” (#363) in its ontological existential.  Heidegger is critical of the “matter of public acceptance” how the ‘authentic Self’ is transformed into a ‘they-self’ (#254). The sociomateriality is spatiotemporal, but not in the sense of Euclidean space or clock time, but rather an attunement to the environment (#137) It is the encounters in the environment that “matters to us” (#138). Another mood matters, attunement by Idle talk, gossiping, passing the word along are pare of matters and mattering (#168-170), ways that let the world matter,.   For Heidegger “a matter of common concern” is the mattering o care (#122). The environment closest to us is a “matter of concern” ready-to-hand” (#122) while the ‘they; is lurking, trying to dictate, and our “answerability” (#127-8) ethically, is to be attuned to the environment, to Being-in-the-world, to its mattering, as a matter of concern.

It is attunement of the storytelling and the mattering, tin space, in time, in mattering which are inseparable, therefore, spacetimemattering of concern and care.


Barad, K. (2014). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs, 40(1).Pdf online.

Boje, D. M. (2010/2012). Quantum Storytelling, online 2010, revised 2012. Ready-to-hand to interested publisher.

Boje, D. M. and Henderson, T. (Eds.) 2014, (in press). Being Quantum: Ontological Storytelling in the Age of Antenarrative. UK: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Boje, David M. (2015). Change Solutions to the Chaos of Standards and Norms Overwhelming Organizations: Four Wings of Tetranormalizing. London/NY: Routledge.

Boje, D. M. and Henderson, T. ((2015). Organizational Development and Change Theory: Managing Fractal Organizing Processes

Mutch, A. (2013). Sociomateriality—Taking the wrong turning?. Information and Organization, 23(1), 28-40.

Scott,Susan V.; Orlikowski,Wanda J.  (2013). Sociomateriality — taking the wrong turning? A response to Mutch. Information and Organization 23 (2013) 77–80, accessed online pdf.