The Antenarrative-Assertion of Albrqueuque’s Rocks-for-the-Homeless – Blog Aug 19 2-14 David M. Boje, Ph.D.

There are cities such as Albrqueuque where a homeless dog gets better care than a homeless human. This blog is what I call an antenarrative-assertion.  I will explain the three steps of its Interpretation method, then contrast it with Grounded Theory (which in my view is not really grounded at all in the Situation of Being). Finally, we will look at the facts, the Situation in Albrqueuque, and end with some

Every antenarrative-assertion has three moments of Interpretation to perform (Heidegger, 1962: #154-155):

  1. A “pointing-out”, E.G. “The hammer is to heavy” but it is nevertheless “ready-to-hand” and not some narrative “representation” (IBID.).
  2. A “predication” but not a predicate put forward, but rather “the hammer itself”, “what it is”, its definite character restricted to some view “too heavy” (IBID.).
  3. A communication “speaking forth” letting someone share this existential, passing it along for “further retelling” in the kind of knowing of “hearsay” (IBID.).

Instead of “this hammer is too heavy” what if we have an assertion, “The sleeping is too rough!”

Step 1 of our Interpretation: Let’s do an antenarrative-assertion, first ‘pointing-out’ some things. For example pointing-out homeless tents in Albrqueuque.


Pointing Out — Homeless in their tents between highway and railway.

In Albrqueuque, the homeless sleeping if too rough! Four times, the city’s mayor ordered a garbage truck crew to throw the homeless tents and all their belonging to the trash, then a dump truck did this to keep it “too rough” to sleep homeless in Albrqueuque. Yet the campers keep getting new tents, setting them up, waiting for the stoning (the rocks) rather than going to the city’s shelters, which I hear tell are rougher than the rocks.

How Albrqueuque treats homeless sleeping rough

STEP One: Pointing Out –> how the Mayor, the City of Albrqueuque treats the homeless, stoning the ground they slept on.

Boulder-sized rocks put where homeless campers once slept rough, and an ironic sign in chalk on the curb, addressed to the mayor.

In Step 2, the predication, the meaning of the predicate the mayor put forward, the stones, the stoning narrows the character of both city of Albrqueuque and Mayor Berry to ‘what it is’ a ‘definite character’ of that city there in New Mexico.

We are doing Step 3, the communication, of this hearsay participating in further retelling on this blog. “Every hearsay is a Being-in-the-world and a Being toward what is heard”(Heidegger, 1962: #155).

What is the Validity of our Interpretation?

It is not the validity of Grounded Theory (Boje, 2014: 262-264). To be precise grounded theory went through three waves.

FIRST WAVE – In first wave grounded theory, the validity is the discovery of theory from the facts. The ground is the place for generated grounded theory, a ground that is a tabula rasa. But, actually, the grounded theorist does not approach the situation as a blank slate, bur rather rills in the slate with prior theory, deductively, and inductively constructing categories in a process of procedures and systematic analysis of documents, interviews, field notes, and so on. In short, first wave grounded theory is pure logical positivism (filling in logico-deductive theory) in a preconception of the whole theory building process, to make the theory generalizable using positivist measures.

SECOND WAVE – In second wave grounded theory is where the ritual of the method procedures of data collection makes the theory so-called ‘grounded’ but the ground of praxis itself is inductive, deriving theory from the post-positivist procedures so as not to contaminate, to bias the coding of variables.

THIRD WAVE – The later third wave grounded theory, claims pragmatism and symbolic interactionism are underpinning its methods. But the grounded theory gurus restrict grounded theory to an ‘epistemology’ where knowledge is created though action and interaction, and assume theory and action are inseparable. But is the praxis such? In third wave, the ritual of data collection and coding is still subservient to theory, leaving the ground rather unexplored.

What then is the Validity of Antenarrative-Assertion?

Grounded theory passes off validity as a primal phenomenon which cannot be traced back any further than the coding procedures.  Antenarrative-assertion, on the other hand, its ontological hermeneutic is to clarify validity in what goes on in the three steps: (1) pointing-out, (2) characterizing, and (3) communicating. Whereas Grounded Theory in all three waves is rationally committed to the universally valid and generalizable theory, in an epistemology of narrative construction of the object in abstract coded meaning, the antenarrative-assertion is a BEFORE, the ‘fore-having.’ Antenarrative-assertion is a process of fore-having that does not mask in advance in an epistemic theory of categories, so that the Articulation of assertion, and the Interpretation steps become visible.

Heidegger can “define ‘assertion’ as a pointing-out which gives something a definite character and which communicates” (Heidegger, 1962: #156-157).

The antenarrative-assertion is performed on the basis of what is already disclosed, a validity understanding discovered circumspectively: a looking around, a careful observation of one’s surroundings, that is, Being-in-the-world in “fore-having”, “any assertion requires a fore-having of whatever has been disclosed” (Heidegger, 1962: #157). 

The careful observation of the homeless surroundings, is their Being-in-the-world, fore-having’ points-out the performance of the City Mayor, the City Workers driving garbage and dump trucks.  Fore-having is accompanied by the ‘bets’ (antes) on the future, that the City is making. The antenarrative-assertion “requires fore-sight” aka a predicate which made the character of the City stand up, be loosened, ‘Albrqueuque has no place for homeless, not even to sleep rough, on the ground, in a tent (IBID). The fore-conception is already implied in the Bet, but remains inconspicuous, BENEATH.  The entire-fore-structure between the City’s mythic-narrative, that it is in anyway concerned about the homeless is belied in the fore-having, fore-sight, and fore-conception, What is missing in the City of Albrqueuque is a definite way of fore-core, the BECOMING of care is deficient, sorely lacking.

This is a depiction of the 5 B's of Antenarrative assignment process, with Heidegger (1962) fore- concepts.

This is a depiction of the 5 B’s of Antenarrative assignment process, with Heidegger (1962) fore- concepts.

Between the living story web of homeless campers sleeping rough in tents and the dominant (mythic) narrative of the City of Albrqueuque is the antenarrative-assertion: (1) pointing out the rocks, (2) character of a city that treats animals better than its human beings, and (3) communication in a retelling, for your further retelling in who you share this blog with.

Each antenarrative-assertion has a definite way of conceiving, structure, having, sight, and care. The sleeping is just too rough in Albrqueuque! The City of Albrqueuque mythic-narrative that it is concerned about the sleeping arrangements of its homeless is leveled, made uniform in the placement of the rocks, a leveling.

We are tracing the concernful understanding of the City of Albrqueuque, and the happenings in the environment, and when we point out the “facts of the case”, “the description of a state of affairs, “note mere so-called Grounded Theory theoretical statements, but rather a “source” in the mattering of the rocks, then we get at validity itself, in a hermeneutics of antenarrative-assertion (Heidegger, 1962: #15).

You can tell a lot about a city by the care they give to the homeless. You hear it in the ‘hearsay’ of the blogs (e.g. Reddit):

e.g. “Everything that has happened over the past year here in Albuquerque has this same idiotic story. Remember the kids who basically stoned the homeless man to death, or how could we forget the homeless man the police shot for ‘illegally camping ‘in the foot hills. Violence toward homeless people is becoming a ridiculous ‘Fad’ in our city.”

e.g. “Don’t forget how if homeless people congregate in ANY way, whether it’s tent cities or living together under a bridge, they’re run out of town like this was the 1920’s and we’re getting rid of railroad hobos… Everyone wants them to go to shelters, but the shelters are overcrowded, and often have a no-tolerance policy for drinking (which is ridiculous) and drugs (which is understandable). It’s not an issue of humanity, for most people, it’s that they assume homeless folks are lowlifes and criminals. It’s easier to ignore them and tell them to leave than it is to solve the problem. And then we get outraged when someone does something cruel to a portion of the population that has been systematically dehumanized and unwelcome to communities (for understandable reasons). But the attitudes toward the homeless perpetuated that. They always do.

… People in ABQ (and other places I’ve been) treat the homeless like vermin. They treat homeless dogs better than they treat homeless people, at least here in Albuquerque. Find a dog who looks mistreated, and everyone on Facebook will like and share your story. Find a human who has been essentially cast out by his community and maybe, if you’re lucky, someone will either donate five bucks or set them on fire.”

The latest solution in Albrqueuque, is the “Don’t Give Money to the Panhandlers” initiative and the 311 sign, put on the corners throughout the city. See News footage.


I hear said, that no one actually answers the 311 calls. Perhaps the switchboard is just flooded with too many calls?


We are willing and ready to go to Albrqueuque with some TENT CITY SOLUTIONS. About 25% of homeless are veterans, and half of those are Vietnam era veterans.  Tent City Solutions is a dialogue between the City and the Homeless, where in theater, we make space for their stories, and do some problem solving with the audience, using Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.

We want to do those Veterans Theater plays there, and in cities that treat animals with more care than humans, and to raise money for a ranch, where there are cabins instead of tents, lots of horses and many other animals, and the homeless of Albrqueuque, can get a break from the stoning, can come to decompress. We call it Legacy Ranch, a project of the ANTENARRATIVE FOUNDATION.

What you can do? Please make a donation here and now so we can get a van to travel from Las Cruces to Albrqueuque, put on Veterans Theater there, and get that Legacy Ranch property. Thank you for your support!