Answers to Antenarrative Questions at Copenhagen Business School

These are Questions that people raised to my presentation at the Copenhagen Business School Seminar on Storytelling with Yiannis Gabriel, BarbaraCzarniawska , and myself organized by Anna Linda Musacchio Adorisio and Ann-Marie Soderberg  2015 for the case for CBS Seminar on Storytelling May 20 2016

Thank you for the wonderful questions, and I hope you will blog about them.

Question 1: Kaylynn Twotrees (1997) defines ‘living story’ as having a Place, a Time, and a ‘Mind’. What is the ‘Mind’ and what is not the ‘Mind’? How does it relate to strategic context in Boje, Haley, and Saylors (2016)? 

Answer Q1: First, you have to distinguish between a ‘living story’ and a ‘proper story’ with its ‘narrative contract’ as Yiannis Gabriel defined it in the seminar. Second, you can distinguish ‘living story’ from emplotment was it is done in western narratology, and in such entities as what Barbara Czarniawska discussed. Living story is about an ontology, not epistemologies. Therefore, Living story has beingness-in-the-world (Heidegger, 1962), and in terms of the Dialectical Storytelling approach I am developing in the seminar: existence and its dialectic with essence (as Hegel describes it in the Preface of Phenomenology of Spirit).  Place, the Being-in-space, the spatializing of space is in storytelling an antenarrative process. Time, Being-in-time is a temporalizing of temporality, and it too is an an antenarrative process. Twotrees’ is working out the ways of Living Story in Lakota Tribe, and its part of what is called IWOK (Indigenous Ways of Knowing). In Living Story, as I use it, there are story rights, worked out in community, and not just anyone can tell a story. The author is not dead in Living Story, and the survivance of tribe, its ways of knowing (See Vizenor’s work on this) depends on Living Storying have a Place.  Narratology does not care about place, and it is part of what gets tossed away in Western Narrative practices.  Living Story in IWOK, has a Time, and you cannot just tell a Living Story at any time you please. There are seasons for a telling because the Living Story entity is told in the context of time, which can be a season, or the generations, such as telling a story about how an action is important to the survival of the 7th generation.  OK, now the fun part.

The ‘Mind’ is the Mind of the story, because the story is Alive, and has what my friend and colleague, Jo Tyler calls ‘aliveness.’ In Living Story Aliveness, the Living Story can be afraid to be told, and peak out at the audience, and say ‘no way am I going to tell anything to you.” Or, in aliveness, a Living Story, may say ‘OK, I will test the waters, and see if it is safe” or “if you are right for this Living Story.’   There is something alive in ‘Living Story’ and something dead in Western Narrative.

I am posing a Dialectical Storytelling, in which, there is a dialectic relation, a two-fold-ness between antenarrative relating the Wester Narrative practice to IWOK Living Story practice. The former is obsesses with epistemology, the death of the author, emplotment, and the narrative contract. The Living Story is all about aliveness, the ontologic, the aliveness of the author even when they pass on, the rights to tell and not tell, and is not so concerned or obsessed with emplotment.  In IWOK, a plot too well worked out, characters too stereotyped, etc. will deny the important pedagogic practice of training people how to interpret the relation between context and Living Story.

OK, now to the last part of the question, the article by Boje, Haley, and Saylors (2015) prepress,

Boje, D. M., Haley, U. C., & Saylors, R. (2015). Antenarratives of organizational change: The microstoria of Burger King’s storytelling in space, time and strategic context. human relations, 0018726715585812. and its (2016) in the printed version

How does ‘Mind’ of Living Story relate to strategic context?

We really avoided the exact definition of  Living Story, in place, in time, and in ‘Mind.’  They would not publish such an article that gave story the agent/agency of ‘Mind.’

I will try to trace where we left some breadcrumbs, some clues.

p. 394 “antenarratives serve as the between of participants’ localized living stories and organizations’ more long-lived grand narratives (or what Czarniawska [2004] termed as petrified narratives).”

We could not go very deep into antenarrative, or Mind, and their ontological constitution, or we would never be published in any top tier journal. So we only did little bits. Above we introduce the Between, and below assert the Heideggerian formulation in fore-structuring.

p. 398 – “Heidegger (1962: #153) elaborated on the importance of structure to understand sensemaking of change: Our constant task is never to allow our fore-having, fore-sight, and fore-conception to be presented to us as fancies or popular conceptions, but rather to make the scientific theme secure by working out these fore-structures in terms of the things themselves.”

I was surprised we got away with introducing as much ontology into Human Relations as we did. e.g.

p. 399  “Before grand narratives cohere into rigid structures and roles, processes work ‘to bring into the scope of our fore-having, with which all subsequent steps of . . . analysis are to conform’ (Heidegger, 1962: #232);

•• Beneath grander narratives that frame general concepts, and living stories of daily working and living, ‘something is arrived at in a resoluteness of fore-conceptions that lies in temporality’ (Heidegger,1962: #327);

•• Anticipated cyclical  bets on possible futures fore-tell new potentialities for being where the ground ‘betrays itself’ as it moves forward (Heidegger, 1962: #257);

•• Between individuating living stories and general, universal grand narratives, fore-structure from ‘the ground up’ ‘[amplifies] understanding’ (Heidegger, 1962: #153).”

There are phrases in the article that need unpacking in order to answer your question

p. 399. “Grounding and embedding strategic change in multiple space–times highlights the struggles between and beneath grand narratives with living stories of life and work in relation to the before of enacting strategic steps and the cyclical bets on anticipated actions.”

The Living Story is not fully formed, still in its aliveness, and the embedding strategic change is happening in multiple spacetimematterings (we wanted this term, but dared not stretech the reviewers and editor any further). The idea I am developing in the CBS seminar is that spacetimemattering, as Barad says has no dashes, but for Human Relations, we put in dashes.

The ‘Mind’ of Living Story, therefore has ontological aspects, is transforming and being transformed by antenarrative processes, which as we discussed are thoroughly dialectical.

Usha and Rohny found the Burger King connections, that could make the theory I was pushing for, come alive

p. 409 “The acquisition exposed the underside of BKC’s official narratives. Responding to stakeholders’ concerns, managers quickly adjusted living stories for meanings that differed from just competitive strategy.”

To be honest, this is not IWOK, not exactly, but it does necessitate how context is important to trace as many diffractions as possible between Living Story and those official corporate narratives.  The Living Story, its aliveness, is embedded in community in ways different than the petrified or official narrative. The ‘Mind’ of Living Story is something not in the Human Relations article. it is what Hegel (1807) calls the self-movement, a kind of early approach anticipating self-organizing processes, where the aliveness has an unfolding quality if self-movement.

I think Bakhtin, because he was so into the chronotopic dialogisms, and how it had ancient folkloric as wells the adventure narratives in spacetime[mattering] was attempting something quite marvelous, a dialogism of simultaneous spacetimemattering frames (inspired by Einstein):

p. 413. “The Collective Life and Idyllic combine antenarratives that occur between previous space–time frames. Here, antenarratives link particularizing living stories with grander narratives. Human connections to earth and fertile soil link to seasonal and cyclic changes, environmental sustainability links to sustainable profitability.

To be honest there is a slight of hand here. We mean ‘Living Story’ with a Place-Time-Mind, but know the readers are not schooled in IWOK, and will read it as just regular story work, and not pay too close attention to it. I am glad you are paying attention.

For more on Living Story and references to works published please WHAT IS LIVING STORY?

Question 2: Do we have responsibility (moral, etc.) over the story we tell? 

Not so much when you treat the author as dead, and the survivors can attribute meaning any way they like.  I prefer the word ‘answerability’ to responsibility. Mikhail Bakhtin is all about answerability, and its an ontological Notion. Bakhtin, we have an answerability that is ontologic, Being the one person in the non-recurring event-ness of the Situation has has awareness, who can act, and so we dare not be a bystander watching a disaster like the Swainson’s Hawk Situation happen, and do nothing. We must get involved in the Situatioin, be in space, in time, in mattering, and engage in storytelling praxis.  As I said, I am an ontologist, not an epistemologist, and definitely am dialectical to social construction and social constructivism which takes the bystander role.  In IWOK, there are Living Story Rights, and these protect the survival of the tribe. Story Rights are worked out in community, and are norms of the community. The penalty in some tribes for getting a story telling wrong, for tell in story without answerability, is death.  Western narratology does not take narrative responsibility so seriously, and is more worried about coherence, performance, types of emplotment, and so on. I have a book edited on the topic

2008 Critical Theory Ethics for Business & Public Administration | Information Age Press; Order here ;Amazon Order Here ; see larger image

ISBN-10: 159311785X
ISBN-13: 978-1593117856s

Question 3: How do we know when a narrative is fully formed? Is it ever?

Answer: You kick the narrative, and it does not move.

In Narratology, Barbara Czarniawska focus is on a narrative attaining its emplotment while the rest of storytelling is just chronology. In 2004 book, and work since (with Rhodes) the focus is on the difference between the readerly narrative and the writerly narrative. For Yiannis Gabriel to focus is on qualities proper story must possess to make them fully formed in ways that are beyond narrative, such as fulfilling an implicit narrative contract to have a beginning-middle-end (BME narrative) emplotment, and the condition of emotion, to do something more than be a report, a description, a recipe.

—Aristotle (350 BCE 1450b: line 25 p. 233) also says Narrative drama is different from epic story and entire history. Narrative to be a proper “imitation of an action that is complete in itself, as a whole of some magnitude… Now a whole is that which has beginning, middle, and end”. Narrative Poetics of has a hierarchic order: plot, characters, thought, dialog, rhythm, and spectacle.

We can ground the differences Barbara, Yiannis and I see between story and narrative, and antenarrative transformation processes in Bakhtin:

—Living Story and fully formed Narrative are different: “Dialogic manner of the story” (Bakhtin, 1981: 60); “Narrative genres are always enclosed in a solid an unshakable monological framework” (Bakhtin, 1973: 13); In dialogism there is a move, a self-movement as Hegel (1807) calls it2008 Storytelling Organizaitons, Sage, 2008 Order here ; Press Release ; Book Review ; Published book review 2009, beyond what Bakhtin terms “systematic monological philosophical finalizedness”

Bakhtin —(1973: 26); The plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousness and the genuine polyphony of full-valued voices… plurality of equal consciousness and their world” (1973: 4).

For more on this see,

2008 Storytelling Organizaitons, Sage, 2008 Order here ; Press Release ; Book Review ; Published book review 2009

Now aways, its ironic that stressing emplotment (plots first and most important) when all around us what Aristotle thought to be least and last, the Spectacle is everywhere important. Most hollywood movies are more about spectacle than plot (blowing things up, car chases, action after action for its own sake). Aristotle is rolling over in his grave at Hollywood.

For me, a narrative is fully formed when it is dead, and petrified, carried around like a dead corpse in funeral rite.  A petrified narrative, a narrative contract fulfilled in BME. A BME narrative is important to an organization to building strong corporate cultures, but that is not all there is to storytelling.

A fully formed narrative has a Before, Beneath, Between, Bets, and Becoming, all those antenarrative processes that accomplish the dialectic relationships of [Dead] Narrative and [Living] story. Its all about movement, and how Storytelling works ontologically in spacetimemattering as Karen Barad puts it. The fully formed narrative is an entity, and it gets that way through antenarrative process, and it decays and decomposes by more antenarrative processes.

Question 4: What are methodological tools for studying antenarratives in organizational communication?

I did not have time to develop this in the seminar. There are some early method and analysis tools for antenarratives that I link to traditional tools in the 2001 book:

Click image for access to Amazon site, Book: Narrative Methods… Sage, 2001 Order Here

Here are the early tools, of which the Deconstruction analysis became used in many dissertations and articles by others:  Microstoria, in only a few.

Then in 2008 I went deeper into Dialogical Methods

2008 Storytelling Organizaitons, Sage, 2008 Order here Press Release ; Book Review ; Published book review 2009


dragon book cover In 2014, Enter the Dragon, as  I explored the pragmatism in COPE, expanding the ontologic methods with lots of Heidegger help. And this is where the fore-having, fore-concept, fore-structure, fore-sight, and fore-care got worked out so it might become methodology to investigate Antenarratives.

Now in 2016,  I am working on a Dialectical Storytelling Methodology I hope will be useful.

Boje's Dialectical Storytelling Model

Specifically, I am working with Hegel, and developing what I call Dialectical Storytelling, and the Swainson’s Hawk is helping me out.

Dialectical Storytelling Model (Drawing by Boje, used by Permission)

I take a Hegelian approach to Dialectical Storytelling Method. In the dialectic of sensemaking (which is one of four dialectics), there is a “simple history of its movement of its experience” (Hegel, 1807: # 109). It is this movement

But are these tools for Organizational Communication.  I see myself working more with storytelling tools than with organizational communication.  That is because, organizational communication and the Academy of Management has been colonized by a social constructionist approach, in which organizational communication is defined by the Linguistic Turn, and is used to create different kinds of social structures, such as relationships, teams, and networks in organizations, and so on.

I began as a social constructionist, then become smitten by postmodernism, and worked out into critical postmodern and critical discourse methods, and then left all this to develop ontological storytelling methods, including quantum storytelling, and now the Dialectical Storytelling Methods. As I said I am not an epistemologist, though I am prisoner in that world. For me, Quantum Storytelling and Dialectical Storytelling Methods are dealing with language entities, and what is beyond the limitations of language.  There is what is spoken, and what we write, and yet the meaning of Being-in-the-world is not often captured in these, and its important to do methods that get at the untold stories, and what Hegel (1807) calls the unutterable.

“They speak of the existence of external objects, which can be more precisely defined as actual, absolutely singular, wholly personal, individual things, each of them absolutely unlike anything else; this existence, they say, has absolute certainty and truth. They mean ‘this’ bit of paper on which I am writing—or rather have written—‘this’; but what they mean is not what they say. If they actually wanted to say ‘this’ bit of paper which they mean, if they wanted to say it, then this is impossible, because the sensuous This that is meant cannot be reached by language, which belongs to consciousness, i.e. to that which is inherently universal… Consequently, what is called the unutterable is nothing else than the untrue, the irrational, what is merely meant [ but is not actually expressed]” (#110, Hegel, G W F. Phenomenology of Spirit).

In short, there are many methodological tools beyond the epistemic social constructivist ones.

Question 5: Comparison of antenarrative and historical analysis?

Refer to what I answered above, that Aristotle differentiated between narrative, lived story (too long to perform on stage) and history (much more impossible than both to perform on stage).

Antenarrative is a process of Storytelling which connects to and transforms Historical Narratives and more Living Stories (which are not life stories, not elicited stories in an interview — because they are being lived not told or written).

I think a suitable answer has to get into the relation of critical discourse, antenarrative and historical analysis.

There are several kinds of discourses, including what Hegel (1807) calls historical discourse. I was note-booking about this question, just this morning. Let me get my notebook.

Hegel (1807: Preface) is developing the differences between various discourses, such as mathematical, historical, and philosophical. Mathematical discourse has its truth :the sum of the squares in the other two sides of a right-angled triangle” (#40). But the problem is mathematical discourse is all about the quantitative, and woks out units of magnitude. Historical discourse, as in Heidegger (1962) is about the difference between a shallow history, which grand narratives, official narratives, and so on — definitely are emplotted in a monologic (see Bakhtin above), while story is dialogical (and this is not always the Living Story, which is very different) — and the more historicality (putting in many more nuanced historical events), which is a deeper history, and then there is the primordial history of a whole life, which does get closer to living story (in some but not all aspects).

Hegel works out a dialectic between a particular existence, with all its particular contingent and arbitrary aspects of content and movement of self-consciousness, the immediate intuition along with its Reasons (#42). There can me in Hegel’s universality, many Reasons, with very little room for other Reasons.  The Mathematical discourse, despite of boasting, and you taking five statistics courses in a US Ph.D. in management, and learning Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) will not get at content of essence or existence. The SEM proofs do not get you there, without quantum leaps.

Historical analysis, at the level of master narratives, grand narratives, and the shallow superficial official narratives of organizations do not get at the deep structures of history, nor does Hayden White’s concoction metanarrative/metahistories with the triple model of Northrop Frye’s emplotments (romance, comedy, tragedy, & satire), with Stephen Pepper’s four world hypotheses:

even when he adds  Manehiem idological types (anarchist, radical, conservative, liberal), and more in the Synoptic table of Metahistory (source wikipedia)

This is the sort of postmodernist historiography that is popular in management and organization studies.  I am not sure, in fact, let me put it more strongly, I don’t see Hegel as synecdoche, integrative, comedian, organicist, or conservative. Why is Nietzsche romance, and representationalist, and user of metaphor?

An Antenarrative analys would trace the ways this sort of monster entity came into being. Let’s start with Stephen Pepper, who dismissed IWOK, as animism, and leaves out that whole category of history.  I have come to know animism differently in reading and talk with Gregory Cajete (2000, see Native Science book), where the Native Science is about how animism is its own science, a way that, in my presentations at CBS, the Swainson’s Hawk has something to say about history, about science, and we can learn from the scream of ‘Kearrrr…” as its nest and egg is tossed Mind-lessly to the ground, by a kind of Humanistic reason, and ideology that would be reduced to whit Synoptic matrix combination: not organicist, not contextualist, not formist, and not even mechanistic. The Hawk does not fit in the table unless its representational, reductionist, perhaps organicist, perhaps contextualist. The Hawk flies above, below, before, and in bets of becoming all around this schemata, this matrix of synoptic categories.

Short answer, I would not compare historical and antenarrative analysis, rather I would use antenarrative to look at the dynamics of heteroglossia (deviation-amplification and deviation-counteraction) forces in the language moves, but then I would want to fly outside and all through any sort of metahistorical analysis.

And then I would come back to Hegel to “movement” in the “twofold process and the genesis of the whole” as “each side simultaneously, posits the other” and “together constitute the whole” (# 42).

I made you a diagram that may help explain it. It is about the dialectical storytelling of the relation of Existence and Essence.  There are at least two antenarrative movements of transition.  One is the antenarrative movement and transition of Existence to become Essence. The Other is the antenarrative movement and transition of Essence to become Existence. And this is the “genesis of the whole” in its twofold dialectical antenarrative movements of opposition.

The purpose of quantitative methods is magnitude, that is unessential, and proceeds in a SEM surface formalism, but does not tough ground to the thing itself, its essence (or Notion), and fails to comprehend both the “material” Nature of the thing itself in existence (para #45). We therefore need antenarrative analysis of history and mathematical discourse to keep them from becoming lifeless.  Often in our field the quantitative “does not make the transition of one opposite into its opposite, does not attain the qualitative, movement or motion or self-movement”(# 45). Here I would refer you to Gephart’s now classic and seminal work on ethnostatistics, that looks at the three moments, how numbers are created, how the statistical packages are misused, and how the tables etc. use rhetoric to persuade us the essence and the existential are conquered and colonized by all the magnitude measurement. see Gephart, Robert P., Jr.(1988). Ethnostatistics: Qualitative foundations for quantitative research.”

The qualitative, of which history and antenarrative, are two examples, “is the process which begets and traverses its own moments, and this whole movement constitutes what is positive [in it] and its truth… that includes the negative also”  and this “evanescent itself must be regarded [as] the twofold essence and existent” in what I call here the dialectical movement of storytelling (# 47).

That Notion of qualitative moving beyond what are the limits of the attainable by the quantitative because magnitude cannot actually explore the content of essence and existence would be taught in every statistics course. Of course they are dialectical, which is why Robert and I write about the Qualimetric.  see Savall, H., & Zardet, V. (2011). The qualimetrics approach: Observing the complex object. IAP.  The risk in history imitating the search for lifeless schemata (see above matrix synoptic) is that we surrender our study of essence and existence, its content.

Question 6: How do you stay out of emplotment when making your bets (antenarratives)?

The short answer I keep falling into emplotments, such as when I draw a double spiral and put it on the board


See Boje (2014).  Yes, I have emplotted events, in a diagram meant to convey twofold (or double) movement. And the movements are too symmetric around an invisible yet present central axis.

And i this next one, a single spiral I am making more bets on the future yet it is a spiral emplotment. Its an emplotment, I created before the project began, three years ago, and in the third, I am working collaboratively networking to bring about a School of Sustainability (SOS).

4 DPIEs example

For more on SOS. and more on drawing them

I feel horribly trapped by others emplotments and my own. I clearly need deprogramming to get out of all these emplotments. I fear that the grave is an em-plot-ment, the finalization of a plot. I want to sort out the antenarratives above, beneath, between, before, bets, and becoming so I can have some self-movement, not in selfsameness, but in the differentia.

I do not want to stay in my emplotments of antenarrative, and prefer to follow where the Swainson’s Hawk is calling me to go. The university caught in cycles, and another cost-cutting linear-antenarrative with a beginning, middle, and end (BME), and all this in a rhizomatic antenarrative of working out co-existence of Hawk and Human and Habitat (3H). This confession from the field, as Van Maanen calls it, brings me to the next question. see Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the field. On writing ethnography, Chicago.

 Question 7: What is Not a Story?

A story, often told, gone to rote, can become narrative, and not a story.

I am beginning to see antenarrative as not story, though I admit, the Living Story, is much like the proper story, but is not that, and the linear BME narrative is one of several kinds, but not all of antenarrative are linear BME, and sometimes the linear, by lines of light turns rhizomatic. You see don’t you, it is not a story, when its not about movement. A story, you enter in the middle, and it has no beginning, and no end in sight. Certainly there are stories with BME, but I am more interested in how they came to be that way, and were they once Living Story, or once dead narrative, and got stuck.

—“Antenarrative” is defined as “the fragmented, non-linear, incoherent, collective, unplotted and pre-narrative speculation, a bet” (1), a very improper story can be transformative (Boje, 2001: 4). And in movement.

A story is not a story, if its ripped out of context, branded and reduced into a narrative, with all kinds of story content left on the editing floor, but the story of how this happened can be very much a story, and that is why I study the transformative movement and dialectical complicity of antenarrative.

I studied folklore, nothing much else to do when I worked at the Anderson School at UCLA, than to hang out in the Folklore department, squeezed and hidden behind the Management library. There I studied the migration of the story in geogrpaphic space, and the many kinds of mythemes, so many you could type tale into a thousand categories, and still have more to do. I read through a number of genres so prolific them become discourses unto themselves.

Derrida treats story and narrative as quite different.

Each “story” (and each occurrence of the word “story,” (of itself), each story in the story) is part of the other, makes the other part (of itself), is at once larger and smaller than itself, includes itself without including (or comprehending) itself, identifies itself with itself even as it remains utterly different from its homonym. (Derrida, 1979: 99-100).

“… The question-of-narrative covers with a certain modesty a demand for narrative, a violent putting-to-the-question an instrument of torture working to wring the narrative out of one as if it were a terrible secret in ways that can go from the most archaic police methods to refinements for making (and even letting) one talk that are unsurpassed in neutrality and politeness, that are most respectfully medical, psychiatric, and even psychoanalytic” (Derrida, 1979: 94).

However, this is just one of many philosophical pragmatic roots of story (and narrative)


From Dragon Book (Boje, 2014).

I am moving away form Social Constructivists, and into Posthumanist kinds of storytelling, but deeply inspired by pragmatists old and new, by futurists and symbolist, Russian formalism of Anna Linda., but I am most at home in ontologies that sort of story.

What is not a story? I agree with Yiannis Gabriel, in part, a proper story has emotion, some kind of conflict, and is not a list. “I shall argue not all narratives are stories; in particular, factual or descriptive accounts of events that aspire at objectivity rather than emotional effect must not be treated as stories” (Gabriel 2000: 5)

Stories are narratives with plots and characters, generating emotion in narrator and audience, through a poetic elaboration of symbolic material” (italics in original)

And I agree, in part, with Barbara Czarniawska, that not all stories are narratives. Barbara Czarniawska’s (2004: 38) develops the concept of “petrified story.” She put it this way “… every narrative becomes new with each retelling, and the ‘petrification’ of stories is not the result of the myopia of the researcher but of intense stabilizing work by the narrators” in organizations.” Petrified narrative (or story) is very important to long-lived organizations preserving their founding values, embedding them in strong corporate cultures

I try to stay in the place, time, and Mind of living stories, so that Yiannis, Barbara, and I not writing about the same thing, when we say what is not a story.

Question 8: Can you have all kinds of forms (linear, cyclical, spiral, rhizomatic) within antenarrative?

Yes, I believe its possible, that was the basis of the 2011 Handbook

Storyteling and the Future of Organizations An Antenarrative Handbook

(2011). Storytelling and the Future of Organizations: An Antenarrative Handbook (London: Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society) [Hardcover]; Authors & Table of Contents

Order Amazon

I agree, I am emplotting antenarratives, though I do feel guilty about it.

What I am trying to show here is how four (and there are more) kinds of antenarrative entities can begin to morph into one another, the linear, becoming cyclic, the cyclic becoming spiral, the linear and all of them becoming rhizomatic play of multiplicities.

Since then, I have been working to get at dialectical relations, how they move in the Before, Bets, Between, Beneath, Becoming, and so on.

Question 9: How do you make a Spiral Lean?

I think there are two kinds of movement in spiral, the movement up and down (in double spiral), as well as in and out, but another kind of movement of the spiral itself in some kind of spacetimemattering landscape. We tried and got to third round review at Academy of Management Review, with an article about spiral, but it was too much spiral for one of the reviewers, though the other did seem appreciative.

Source: All about Spirals – a study guide for undergraduates in small business consulting course

“For the spiral to lean (its not leaning in above photo, then I think the symmetry of the spiral must shift. There is no rule that says it cannot. There can be twirls that move in and out, can change shapes from circular to oblique, and zigzag as they whirl. If we stay in a symmetric emplotment, then we miss a lot of the movement. My writing colleagues and I played with performance, to meet the managerial interest of AMR reviewers, but I never like splitting space (landscape) from time, and instead of performance, I wanted materiality (substance), and that would not fly.

Here is one that leans, from same source

I wanted to move along and publish something more about spirals leaning and moving, but without the first publication, who would touch the second.

A ‘Q-Spiral’ is not a Archimedes Spiral (does not have equal distance of each cycle or whorl relative to its axis of rotation). It is not a singular one-armed Logarithmic Spiral (does not have a factor of progressive increase or of decrease in a single direction). It has two inter-twined spiral arms (gold & purple), that are linked at the top and bottom, so its proper type, is a Lorentz Spiral (a spiral that shifts in directionality at two focal points). When we start to notice that Q-Spirals have bridging spirals between whorls, and off-shoot-spiral buds (known technically as fractal-spirals), then we have a more comprehensive model of organization processes, that is a more accurate depiction of the actual organization processes.” (IBID).

Complexity of Q-Spiral showing bridges between whorls and an off-shoot (fractal spiral)


“This is a Q-Spiral with two bridges between the main-whorls. The Blue bridge-spiral allows movement of people, storytelling, and materials between a downward spiral (Purple) and an upward spiral that is more positive (Gold) nearer the top of the Q-Spiral where momentum forces are less severe, and the rides are slower. The Rainbow bridge-spiral allows movement of people, storytelling, and materials between a downward spiral (Purple) and an upward spiral (Gold) near the base where the whirls are at a higher speed and it is more difficult to break free of the momentum. Finally, there is an Off-shoot fractal spiral, such as a new product innovation, a new organization location, that is still feeding off the main Q-Spiral.

Q-Spiral organization processes may be invisible to the participants and to the consultant. That is because, many folks assume that a organization process is a linear affair, a straight line with a bunch of steps that are repeated, the same way, in the say place, by the same people, and the same machines, with the same materials, controlled by supervision and training, and just keeps repeating, into the future, just as it was in the past, and is now.” (IBID).

Question 10: What is the purpose of the pyramid? Are there movements within/between levels?

The pyramid refers to this drawing I did, of dialectical storytelling method/theory/praxis.

Boje's Dialectical Storytelling Model

I meant to turn it on its side, or have some other depiction

Let’s try it this way.

Yes, to get back to the question, there are [dialectical] relations within each level, and between levels. The Notion here is that there is a dialectic within each level, and there is dialectic between the levels (though I did not think of them as levels).


1st the Sensemaking Dialectic -within level –>

The first contribution is to move beyond retrospective sensemaking as a way of knowing (epistemic) to its more ontological aspects. In particular, the sensemaking dialectic is process of selecting remembering and forgetting. —It includes the dialectic of this Here & Now opposed by others Heres & Other Nows In includes opposition of direct experience and the ‘liquidity’ of others’ experiences told to you.

2nd the Irritability Dialectic – within level –>

—This dialectic move beyond individual sensemaking to the dialectic of being-for-self and being-for-another. —This includes the Notion of organic elasticity of the movement of this dialectic. —Elasticity in storytelling relations of self and other, is how the form of the telling returns to selfsameness (like a stretched rubber band that returns upon release to its former shape).

3rd the Reproduction Dialectic – within level –>

—Reproduction Introflective Dialectic. Introflective is a special reflexivity on the plight of species, its Being-ness in the world. —Hegel’s introflective concept has yet to be applied to storytelling, much less to organization studies.

Since introflective is used only 3 times  (# 266, # 298, #545), lets see mor waht its about.

Here introflective is something more than the sensemaking (sensibility) dialectic of this here and now directly experienced, and its something deeper and broader than the irritability dialectic of being-for-self and being-for-another. Hegel (#266) puts it in Reproduction.

“266. Now, as regards these moments themselves, they are directly derived from the notion of ‘end-in-itself’, of a being whose end is its own self. For Sensibility expresses in general the simple Notion of organic reflection-into-self, or the universal fluidity of this Notion. Irritability, though, expresses organic elasticity, the capacity of the organism to react at the same time that it is reflected into itself, the actualization which is opposed to the initial quiescent being-within-self, an actualization in which that abstract being-for-self is a being-for-another. Reproduction, however, is the action of this whole introreflected organism, its activity as in itself an End, or as genus, in which the individual repels itself from itself, and in the procreative act reproduces either its organic members or the whole individual. Reproduction, taken in the sense of self-preservation in general, expresses the formal Notion of the organism, or Sensibility; but it is, strictly speaking, the real organic Notion or the whole, which returns into itself, either qua individual by producing single parts of itself, or, qua genus, by bringing forth individuals.”

In # 298, Hegel ties it to inorganic and organic dialectic, and call is introflected simplicity, and antithesis with it of universal and individual, in essence of this life itself. This then moves between levels of being-for-self (sensemaking, and irritability) and into a larger deeper wider universality (of a species and another species)




“298. Observation of Nature finds the Notion realized in inorganic Nature, laws whose moments are things which, at the same time, have the character of abstractions; but this Notion is not a simplicity that is reflected into itself. The life of organic Nature, on the other hand, is only this introreflected simplicity; the antithesis within it of universal and individual does not sunder itself in the essence of this life itself. The essence is not the genus which, in its undifferentiated element, would be self-sundered and self-moved, and at the same time would be, for itself, undifferentiated in its antithesis. Observation finds this free Notion, whose universality contains just as absolutely within it developed individuality, only in the Notion which itself exists at Notion, i.e. in self-consciousness.”

Finally in # 545, Hegel is asserting an introflected negativity that develops subsequently, into something opposed to it, of its previous state, or as an invisible imperceptible Spirit (i.e. Reason) that infiltrates the noble parts.

“545. … For though the nature of what consciousness received into itself was simple and homogeneous with it, yet it was also the simplicity of an introreflected negativity which subsequently also develops, in keeping with its nature, into something opposed to it and thereby reminds consciousness of its previous state. This simplicity is the Notion, which is the simple knowing that knows itself and also its opposite, but knows this opposite to be reduced to a moment within it. Consequently, when consciousness does become aware of pure insight, the latter is already widespread; the struggle against it betrays the fact that infection has occurred. The struggle is too late, and every remedy adopted only aggravates the disease, for it has laid hold of the marrow of spiritual life, viz. the Notion of consciousness, or the pure essence itself of consciousness. Therefore, too, there is no power in consciousness which could overcome the disease. Because this is[…]ness. Therefore, too, there is no power in consciousness which could overcome the disease. Because this is present in the essence itself, its manifestations, while still isolated, can be suppressed and the superficial symptoms smothered. This is greatly to its advantage, for it does not now squander its power or show itself unworthy of its real nature, which is the case when it breaks out in symptoms and single eruptions antagonistic to the content of faith and to its connection with the reality of the world outside of it. Rather, being now an invisible and imperceptible Spirit, it infiltrates the noble parts through and through and soon has taken complete possession of all the vitals and members of the unconscious idol; then ‘one fine morning it gives its comrade a shove with the elbow, and bang! crash! the idol lies on the floor’.23 On ‘one fine morning’ whose noon is bloodless if the infection has penetrated to every organ of spiritual life. Memory alone then still preserves the dead form of the Spirit’s previous shape as a vanished history, vanished one knows not how. And the new serpent of wisdom raised on high for adoration has in this[…]”

4th Wisdom Dialectic – within level –>

Greater Mysteries into which the candidate was admitted only after he had successfully passed through the ordeals of the Lesser, and not always then Ceres, the mother of Persephone is wandering through the world in quest of her abducted daughter. Ceres carried two torches, intuition and reason, to aid her in the search for her lost child (the soul).

—This would involve a posthumanist counternarrative to the usual human-centric narrative —IWOK school of wisdom, as a return to what Cajete (2000) calls Native Science, how humans can learn form Nature. How might this facilitated in Dialectical Storytelling Interventions?

For example, how to Respect and Honor the Swainson’s Hawk is a rite of celebration each Spring as the migrant pair arrives from the 7,000 mile journey from Argentina, making their nest once again atop the Renfrow Gym Mulberry Tree. As the Webcam is installed, the NMSU community eagerly awaits the birth for 1 to 4 fledglings. (B) Initiation into the second dialectical rites of Fore-Having are taught to initiate students by their faculty in-order-to set up the best conditions for human and hawk safety as the Swainson’s Hawk pair gathers twigs and string to make their nest. (C) Initiation into the third dialecticalrite of Fore-Structuring ways both Humans and Hawk-fledglings are safe as Hawk couple teaches the fledglings to fly, to hunt grasshoppers and dragon flies, and to avoid any predator-humans. Initiation into the higher mysteries: How to engage in Acoustic Rhetoric, the ability to listen to the Swainson’s Hawk alarm cry, ‘Kearrrrr…’ and know to move away from the mature and fledgling, which includes not walking while staring at cell phones and not blocking hearing with ear buds so the ‘Kearrrr’ and ‘Kerrrr’ sounds can be distinguished’ (D) Initiation into the rites of the dialectic of Invitational Rhetoric versus Accusatory Rhetorics (e.g. old signage around campus before create of Wisdom School, and the new signage after which educates in science and common sense, and critical thinking and critical reasoning).

Thanks to you all for a wonderful 4 day special course on Narrative and Storytelling. I hope you find it useful in your story work.

for more info see