A ‘Realist’ Shamanic Practice of Soul Retrieval for Wounded Warriors

I am a shamanic practitioner, and facilitate a shamanic drumming circle in Las Cruces, New Mexico based on Michael Harner (1980, 2013) books and over a dozen training seminars. Drumming circle clients oftentimes have ‘soul wounds’ and ‘soul loss’ that occur in trauma events, when a fragment of the soul protects our Self by leaving (Ingerman, 1990; Duran, 2006).  Some our wounded warriors. Others have Soul Wounds from other traumas. The rhythmic drumming we do has the capacity to facilitate altered states of consciousness (Harner, 1980: 66). Every thing, and we are living things, has soul. The soul is spiritual essence that is immortal Being of humans, plants, animals, rocks, mountains, as well as the elements of fire, water, earth, and air. Every thing has a spiritual essence, a soul that is immortal. These soul-things (or entities) are entangled with one another, capable of action-at-a-distance because they are not empirical objects. Rather the soul exists as its own flows of energy, and as waves of vital essence.

My purpose? Here and Now I want to do something with shamanic practitioners of Las Cruces that can help with the soul wounds and soul loss of veterans and homeless of our community. Healing the Soul Wound (Duran, 2006) and Soul Retrieval (1990) are both ways of healing the fragmented Self, to be an authentic whole Self again. Our shamanic practitioner encounters with fragmented soul retrieval can help our veterans and homeless overcome many kinds of trauma.

What causes soul loss? Trauma events cause soul loss, and this includes being in a care-giving profession or role, where you give vital essence and energy to some ‘Other’ person, and forget to retrieve your soul fragments. Trauma event includes trauma of combat, any kind of drug, sex, or work addiction where we inflict trauma on our own body, illness, accidents such as the stress of violence, the traumatic brain injury (TBI) from physical injury, the loss of loved ones, and sexual trauma of rape and incest.

What happens to soul fragments? In an event of soul loss, our soul fragments decide to escape, and flee the pain, in order to let remains of our soul survive the pain. The survival strategy lets us hold the remaining life-energy together for a short while, but soon it drains us, taking more and more life-energy to keep it together. With soul loss, Ingerman (1990: 12) asserts, “The light has gone from our existence.” This loss of soul fragment leaves us with less light, less power, and less memory. It is the feeling “I’m not all here” (IBID. p. 13). We can feel abandoned, less joyful, less energetic, more depressed. A soul less than whole Self, is not able to handle the pain of simple life events, and cannot reclaim memory experiences that have left the Self.

What is the consequent of traumatic soul loss? The consequent of soul loss is a ever-increasing space of emptiness deep inside our spiritual essence that is in need of healing. The consequent of soul loss is an absence of vitality of life because our whole Self is no longer whole and can no longer attain its desired intimacy, joy, and love of life.

Can we retrieve soul fragments in ordinary reality (OR)? No! No amount of retrospective sensemaking narrative of our past experiences will be able to retrieve our lost soul fragments. This is because searching the trauma events, or reliving by way of narrative sensemaking (re) experiencing of trauma is looking in the wrong world. Reliving trauma event, again and again, is done with our military and veterans, in order to desensitize them to the violent event. The results for our veterans returning from combat have been less than spectacular.

What are the shamanic practices of soul retrieval? Shamanic practitioners have trained and are skilled at creating ‘altered states of consciousness’ (ASOC) in order to journey to the REAL of Non-Ordinary-Reality (NOR), to other worlds that are entirely ‘Real’. There are three worlds that co-exist: Lower World, Middle World, and Upper World, each with many levels to explore. The Middle World of ordinary reality (OR) is where events of trauma occur, and it is also our ordinary reality (OR) of experiences of sensemaking that looking backward to relive trauma events but cannot ever find lost soul fragments there because you are looking in the wrong world. Our fragments of lost soul have left for the serenity of Upper World and the compassion and care of Lower World existence in order for the remaining soul fragments to survive in Middle World ordinary reality (OR).

Table 1: Domains of Real, Actual, and Empirical are distinct – Adapted version of Roy Bhaskar (1975: 13) by Boje

  Real Domain Actual Domain Empirical Domain
Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs)    
Events of Trauma in Living Story Webs of relation  
Experiences of Retrospective Sensemaking Narrative

AGMs exist in the Real, and can manifest in events and experiences. The empirical domain of actual and experience cannot attain to the Real where AGMs exist. See blog post”

Action Research Needs a Quantum Storytelling Theory of Action and Research

My professional study is storytelling. Storytelling is a combination of retrospective narratives of experience, our living stories in Middle World, and what I call antenarratives (Boje, 2001, 2008 2011, 2014) that reside in the ‘Real’ Worlds, the Lower and Middle Worlds. Antenarrative means generative mechanisms of the real that exist before (antecedent to) narrative experience, and are beyond living story events we are living our in our Middle World existence. Shamanic practitioners can journey by altered states of consciousness (ASOC) to Lower World and to Upper World, and even journey in Middle World, in search of lost soul parts.

Transcendent Realism This is the transcendental ‘Real’ where lost soul fragments exist, can be found by journeying to Non-Ordinary Reality (NOR), and returned to our ordinary Reality (OR) in Middle World. The transcendental ‘Real’ is antecedent, with many Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs) in the independent existence of the “Real” Lower World and “Real” Upper World of nonordinary reality (NOR).

The Heart-of-Care The AGMs are what I call the ‘heart of care’ that is all about fore-caring in four ways: fore-having, fore-structuring, fore-concepting, and fore-telling.


Figure 1: Heart of Care of Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs) [drawing by D. M. Boje, November 15, 2016] See more on this at

Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms Are Independent of the Structural Equation Modeling Narrative!

The Authentic Whole Self The whole Self suffers when fragments of the soul leave, are given away in acts of care for ‘Others’, or are abducted by needy and greedy humans. The authentic Self is no longer Being-a-Whole-in-the-World. Rather, energy is spent making up for Soul Loss fragments that have departed. The remaining fore-caring (fore-having, fore structuring, fore-concepting, and fore-telling) is attuned to Soul Loss and hungers to find them, to be Whole again.


Figure 2: Remains of Heart of the Soul after Fragments Depart (drawing by D. M. Boje November 15, 2016)

An Ontological Interpretation of Soul Fragments This is my own ontological Interpretation of the Situation of Soul Loss and Retrieval. We project the possibility of recovering lost fragments of our Soul Loss. In the Shamanic Journeying there is the potentiality for disclosedness of the location of lost Soul Fragments in a fore-caring that is ahead-of-itself antecedent in the AGMs. The shamanic practitioner journeys along-side the client, in a fore-caring, in the Non-Ordinary Reality (NOR). The shamanic practitioner falls into Lower World or ascends into Upper World to do Soul Retrieval.

An ethic of Caring, a conscience that obliges us to bring into our scope of shamanic practitioner work a fore-having, grounded in the primordial existence of the Soul. We must ‘see’ not in a sensemaking empirical way of the five positivistic senses. By contrast, the ‘Real’ kind of Seeing a shamanic practitioner does grasps the unity of the Self, the possibility of becoming an authentic Whole-Soul-Being-in-the-Middle World since all the fragments of Self already in-advance have antecedent Being-in-the-Real-of-Middle-and-Upper-Worlds. As Heidegger (1962: #237) puts it, “We cannot cross out the ‘ahead-of-itself’ as an essential item in the structure of care.”

The attestation of AGM state of Being ‘Real’ phenomenologically is in its “potentiality-for-Being-one’s-Self” (Heidegger, 1962” #268). But, we can easily get lost in the they-self of the Middle World, having given fragments of our Soul away in caring for Others, or in having them taken away in trauma event after trauma event. It is easy in Middle World to be ensnared into one addition event after another, and the habits of addition events can be hard to break free from.

Ontological Roots We can say that addiction itself has ontological roots in Middle World, and that healing comes from restorying fragments of the Heart-of-Care from Upper and Lower Worlds where AGMs are ‘Real’ in their potentiality-for-Being in anticipatory resoluteness, a “disclosedness of the meaning of the Being of care” (Heidegger, 1962: #321, italics original). The ‘Spirit’ that exists spatially and in the temporalizing of temporality is not a ‘Spirit’ that falls into the spacetime of the Middle World, its Euclidian space, or its clock time: “’Spirit’ does not fall into time; but factical existences falls as falling from primordial authentic temporality” (Heidegger, 1962: # 436). In other words Spirit of Upper and Lower World does not fall into the clock time of Middle World, but our Soul can fall from primordial ‘Real’ of authentic temporality into the addictions of Middle World, or into Soul Loss from trauma. In this way there is a dialectical relation between Spirit and Soul Loss.  See

What is Triadic Dialectic for Management and Organization Inquiry

Preface (continued)

There is also the counterforce of “the authenticity of care itself” in the potentiality for retrieving Soul Fragments, becoming an authentic-whole-Self-Being-in-the-world (# 301). Heidegger (1962: 435) concludes be reminding us that “Hegel shows how it is possible for Spirit to be actualized historically ‘in time’” not in clock time of Middle World nor in the Gospel of Greed of consumption and exploitation, but rather in the ethic of care in the “concretion of the Spirit” that has its potentiality in the ‘Real.’ The ‘Real’ is not events, nor experience, but rather the existence of the potentiality of the ethic of care, our own conscience attunement to caring. AGMs operate in processes of fore-caring for the true, the good, the just, and the beautiful, not for some Gospel of Greed. See:



Bhaskar, Roy. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science. Leeds, UK: Leeds Books Ltd. http://uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Roy_Bhaskar_A_Realist_Theory_of_Science.pdf

Boje, D. M. (2008). Storytelling Organizations. London: Sage.

Boje, D. M. (2011). Storytelling and the Future of Organizations: An Antenarrative Handbook (London: Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society)

Boje, D. M. (2012a). Quantum Storytelling. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. (2012b) Quantum Spirals for Business Consulting. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. & Henderson, T. L. (Eds.). (2014). Being Quantum: Ontological Storytelling in the Age of Antenarrative. Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Boje, D. M., Svane, M., Henderson, T. L., & Strevel, H. B. (in press). Critical corporate social responsibility in tamara-land: The role of tetranormalizing fractals. In R. Ocler (Ed.), Book chapter for a Springer collection, Rodolphe Ocler (ed.).

Boje, M., & Svane, M., Gergerich, E. (in press). Counternarrative and Antenarrative Inquiry in Two Cross-Cultural Contexts. Cross Cultural Management.

Harner, M. J. (1990). The way of the Shaman. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Harner, M. (2013). Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. North Atlantic Books.

Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time, trans. J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson.

Ingerman, S. (1990). Soul retrieval. San Francisco, Calif. HarperSanFrancisco.


Action Research Needs a Quantum Storytelling Theory of Action and Research

Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms are Real, Before Narrative and Story Formation! In this blog post, I argue that there are two paradigms of ‘action’, one classical, and the other quantum, which could give new life to Action Research (AR). Currently, AR is dominated and coopted by the classical action paradigm, which does not allow for the sort of action-at-a-distance entanglements of quantum storytelling we discuss and debate at the Annual Quantum Storytelling Conference  (http://davidboje.com/quantum).

Generative mechanisms according to Bhaskar (1975: 13) are distinct, in the ‘real’ and different from the actual and empirical. My purpose here is to propose Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs) are ‘real’ and distinct from actual and empirical. Table 1 presents the model.

Table 1: Domains of Real, Actual, and Empirical are distinct – Adapted version of Bhaskar (1975: 13) by Boje

  Real Actual Empirical

AGMs are antecedent to patterns of living story events (without beginning or ending) that are rendered into retrospective sensemaking experiences with a beginning, middle, and end (or BME narrative linearity) (Weick, 1995). AGMs are necessary but do not always result in a consequent story event-ness or narrative sensemaking experience. The ‘real’, the ‘actual’, and positivistic empirical overlap, and are distinct from one another.


See previous blog post that develops concepts in Figure 1 above 

For Bhaskar the positivistic empirical realm is entirely anthropocentric (or humanist) in its social activity, and reductionist, as opposed to what Bardians call posthumanist (with more than just the human species doing its exclusive sensemaking experiencing by its five senses). In the epistemic fallacy of positivistic empirical, the ontology of the real, and the actual, are reduced to the epistemology of the empirical (reducio ad absurdum).

Bhaskar distinguished between ‘classical paradigm of action’ and what we will call here, a ‘quantum paradigm of action.’ The Newtonian ‘classical paradigm of action’ is referred to as ‘empirical realism’ where real and actual get reduced to empirical experience sensemaking in relatively closed systems. This is dialectic to transcendental realism (where AGMs and Real ontologically connect).

Towards a Quantum Storytelling Theory of Action at a Distance In the “Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum theory” we get what colleagues and I call ‘quantum storytelling’ beyond Newtonian “action-by-contact” (Bhaskar, 1975: 61). Action-by-contact paradigm is dialectically opposed to the Quantum theory of action-at-a-distance. Action-by-contact is worked out in ‘closed systems’ while action-at-a-distance is an AGM generative of potential antecedents and consequents actualizing a relationship in ‘open systems’ or what I call ‘systemicity’ of unmerged and unfinalized that do not attain closure in any kind of linearity, unidirectionality, and instead are multi-causal, nonlinear, where antecedents and consequents may or may not link up (Boje, 2008, 2014). Nor, does the open systemicity revolve around humancentric, and is rather posthumanist in its quantum storytelling (Boje & Henderson, 2014).

In quantum storytelling, action-at-a-distance is identified, described, and predicted phenomena in open systemicity. This means that Karl Popper’s solutions to problems of induction, only work in empirically regulated and controlled conditions of closed system experimentation to meet conditions of falsification of alternative models, entirely cut off from open system complexity dynamics (Bhaskar, 1975: 66, 69). Bhaskar is willing to risk Popper’s wrath, in positing transcendental realism as a dialectic opposition to empirical realism. Open systemicity, in contrast to closed systems, are a plurality of antecedents in search of a plurality of consequents.

In closed systems the principle of organizations assumes actions-by-contact, in their additivity, and atomicity (p. 76), which works for Newtonian positivistic empirical science, and is much to regressive and reductionistic for systemicity. In closed systems action occurs in a world that consists of “independent and atomistic events” (p. 81). Quantum storytelling assumes action-at-a-distance, events in non-additivity are entangled, and atoms composed of infinitesimally smaller entities.

This has implications for Action Research (AR). The epistemic positivistic empiricism of atomicity in ‘classical action paradigm’ requires additive events in raw sensemaking of experience, in quite linear process, in series of actions-by-contact. A billiard ball sort of model of AR results, where there are wholes greater than sum of atomistic parts, and parts and wholes are in limit conditions of closed systems. Quantum storytelling is about the potential of AGMs generating story or narrative, in action-at-a-distance entanglements.

Transcendental realism ontology, both closed and open systemicity are subject to AGMs, which may or may not manifest living story webs of event patterns and sensemaking narrative experiences. Tendencies of AGM exist in the ‘real’ that are unfulfilled, yet potentialities, in the actual, and empirical. Something is really generated the event pattern, and the experiences of sensemaking. Take as an example the ‘free market’ narrative, where equilibrium is expected as some sort of balance of buying and selling (Bhaskar, 1975: 99-100). Is the so-called ‘free market’ be pulled in two directions at once (buying & selling), or is the multi-directionality of market balancing act a problematic model? From an AGM approach, there is something generating the particular directions, and the concept of balance is a fictive mask concealing the influences. This is because AGMs are not events, rather they are self-organizing independent generators of events, and experiences. “But both antecedents and consequents are events in open systems” (p. 102). An AGM may be set in motion in systemicity, in a condition of undisclosability (opacity, non-transparency) and be undetected by an observer or participant observer. That does not mean that the AGMs are not ‘real’ and are not generating story event aliveness or retrospective narrative sensemaking experiences.

AR, in a transcendental realist analysis of action-at-a-distance, there are AGMs that action researchers (& participants) can become aware of, and others that they may not be attuned to, and remain undisclosed. Quantum thing in the quantum storytelling world situate limits on action because action-at-a-distance does not have atomistic, additivity, and action-in-contact assumptions.

Drawing by Marita Svane in Boje and Svane article

Figure 2: This is a depiction of the 5 B’s of Antenarrative assignment process, with Heidegger (1962) fore- concepts.  See blog post where above figure is explained

AGMs would focus AR attention on identifying, describing, and predicting (where possible) the particular ‘fore’s’: fore-having, fore-structuring, fore-concept, and fore-telling that make up what we call –fore-caring in advance and preparation in advance. That fore-caring in all its fore’s are the antecedent conditions necessary to accomplish living storyability, and narrative sensemaking. These fore’s may be said to be agential, to be agents rooted in the nature of the world in all its glorious systemicity.

Bhaskar, Roy. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science. Leeds, UK: Leeds Books Ltd. http://uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Roy_Bhaskar_A_Realist_Theory_of_Science.pdf

Boje, D. M. (2008). Storytelling Organizations. London: Sage.

Boje, D. M. (2011). Storytelling and the Future of Organizations: An Antenarrative Handbook (London: Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society)

Boje, D. M. (2012a). Quantum Storytelling. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. (2012b) Quantum Spirals for Business Consulting. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. & Henderson, T. L. (Eds.). (2014). Being Quantum: Ontological Storytelling in the Age of Antenarrative. Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Boje, D. M., Svane, M., Henderson, T. L., & Strevel, H. B. (in press). Critical corporate social responsibility in tamara-land: The role of tetranormalizing fractals. In R. Ocler (Ed.), Book chapter for a Springer collection, Rodolphe Ocler (ed.).

Boje, M., & Svane, M., Gergerich, E. (in press). Counternarrative and Antenarrative Inquiry in Two Cross-Cultural Contexts. Cross Cultural Management.





How can we transition from ‘Global-Billionaire-Greed-Capitalism’ into and Authentic ‘Caring-Capitalism’? The first step is in becoming aware of the many internal contradictions in Global-Billionaire-Greed-Capitalism (hereafter GBGC). GBGC has actualized historically an increasing inequality of wealth. 1,810 billionaires in 2016 control $6.5 trillion dollars of world wealth. (http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/).

forbes top 10.png

Forbes top 10 Billionaires in 2016

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-koch-brothers_us_55d9ca6ee4b0a40aa3ab3642) was critical of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and some other billionaires who “corrupted” political and economic system of “greedy” billionaires destroying American democracy by infusing huge sums of cash into campaigns and election.

Among Forbes list of 1,810 billionaires), a few of them (Warren Buffett, Mohamed El-Erian), according to Time,

“… have begun to speak out publicly about the need for a new and more inclusive type of capitalism, one that also helps businesses make better long-term decisions rather than focusing only on the next quarter. The Pope has become a vocal critic of modern market capitalism, lambasting the “idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy” in which “man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption” (May 12 2016 Rana Foroohar, http://time.com/4327419/american-capitalisms-great-crisis/).


forbes 2nd top 10.png

Forbes 2nd 10 Billionaires in 2016

The Walton brothers and sister each have 30 plus billion, from keeping Wal-Mart workers begging for Medicare, while forcing Third World supply chain contractors to globally engage in slave labor tactics.

The purpose here is to develop a new kind of ‘Caring-Capitalism’ as viable and dialectic alternative to the Gospel of Greed of the vast majority of the 1,810 billionaires. Ronald Glassman (2016) argues for a kind of Caring-Capitalism is the new middle class alternative. It is not the kind of Ben & Jerry’s Caring-Capitalism that asserts that it’s possible for ‘free market’ entrepreneurs to to make lots of money and still provide employees with an unusually high quality of life.  Rather, for Glassman, the old ‘free market economic system’ with its high-tech efficiency, and fluctuating business cycles (boom & bust) is still the path for the middle class to take to becoming super rich. Both Glassman and Ben & Jerry’s Caring-Capitalism argues the free market, in its ‘neoliberal ideology’ will take care of people better than any elected government (Chun, 2009; Vrasti, 2011).

There are many kinds of capitalism which are not sell outs to neoliberal ideology, not just the one of Ben & Jerry, an apologetic narrative for the GBGC that most of the 1,810 billionaires of capitalism subscribe to and treat as a TINA (There Is No Alternative) narrative.

Uncovering Caring-Capitalism My purpose is uncover a counternarrative ‘Caring-Capitalism’ that is more ‘real’ and more ‘authentic than the neoliberal versions. It is a dialectical concretion of the ethic of care, an ‘Antenarrative Generative Mechanism’ (AGM) that is already before narrative and counternarratives, and before living stories still in the middle, without end or beginning. AGM is what Heidegger (1962” # 301) says “must already be presupposed as a whole when we distinguish between theoretical and practical behavior” otherwise the dialectic of Caring-Capitalism opposing GBGC is baseless and existentially ungrounded. Caring-Capitalism must be “the authenticity of care itself” in its potentiality-for-Being able to oppose the many internal contradictions of GBGC (IBID.). The GBGC internal contradictions have an entire history of concealments, how the Gospel of Greed is a reincarnation of Herbert Spencer’s Social Darwinism. We are witnesses to what Robert Reich (2011, http://robertreich.org/post/13567144944) calls the Rebirth of Social Darwinism. That legitimated robber barons like Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and John D. Rockerfeller to widen the chasm between rich and poor, in a free market survival of the fittest struggle, where only the billionaires are fit to survive, as the products of natural selection.

Social Darwinism offered a moral justification for the wild inequities and social cruelties of the late nineteenth century. It allowed John D. Rockefeller, for example, to claim the fortune he accumulated through his giant Standard Oil Trust was “merely a survival of the fittest.” It was, he insisted “the working out of a law of nature and of God” (Reich, 2011).

In 2016, 1,810 billionaires have a death grip on global capitalism, in a reincarnated Social Darwinism, free market greed justified by a TINA narrative, where Ben & Jerry’s brand of Caring-Capitalism, is an inadequate counternarrative, just more free market greed apologetics.

The consequence of the GBGC TINA narrative is it rationalizes and legitimizes our current global capitalism that enslaves most humans, destroys the planet ecosystems, while being praised as rational ‘free market’ business sense. Piketty’s (2014) solution is to tax the 1,810 billionaires who have amassed wealth into fewer and fewer hands, and living off the rent of inherited money that in the case of globalization is destructive to democratic society and has created an inegalitarian downward spiral.

What are the signs that the top 20 billionaires in Forbes list are mostly Greedy?  We are watching 24,000,000 children go hungry to avoid inconveniencing the 20 billionaires. It’s an unthinkable trade-off, but it’s happening. Although the 2013 SNAP (food stamp) budget of $78 billion is less than the 2012 investment earnings of 20 wealthy Americans, SNAP is being cut while not a penny extra is taken from the multi-billionaires” (Salon, 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/06/23/4_horrible_ways_capitalism_is_slowly_destroying_us/). Hanson Drew (Forbes, 2016), says “Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050.” How bad is the extinction crisis?

  • Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years
  • Since 2000,6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year.
  • Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20%
  • The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 205

Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg (2015), book: Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations argues that businesses are locked in a cycle of exploiting the world’s resources in ever more creative ways. Celebrity billionaires Richard Branson and Bill Gates, say the only way to reverse climate change is for entrepreneurs to make money from it.

GBGC has the internal contradiction that the ultra-wealthy billionaires are disrupting global capitalism, throwing it into one crisis after another. We can say that GBGC’s internal contradictions, its growing gap of Haves and the Have-Nots is bringing about its own demise, its own negation. GBGC is mutating in ways that are destroying the planet ecology, its ability to be inhabitable. .

You would think, given its internal contradictions, that GBGC would collapse, and out of its ashes a new, perhaps more Carin-Capitalism would take root in the cleared space. However, this is not the case. Naomi Klein (2007a: 49), for example, describes the resoluteness of Disaster Capitalism using each new crisis as a way to advance its ruthless vision of greed:

“After each new disaster, it’s tempting to imagine that the loss of life and productivity will finally serve as a wake-up call, provoking the political class to launch some kind of “new New Deal.” In fact, the opposite is taking place: disasters have become the preferred moments for advancing a vision of a ruthlessly divided world, one in which the very idea of a public sphere has no place at all. Call it disaster capitalism.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961 warned us against this sort of disaster capitalism, in his critique of the military industrial complex that would replace the State with its own ‘corporate’ enterprise for “waging war, securing borders, spying on citizens, rebuilding cities, treating traumatized soldiers” (p. 50).


More Later…



Chun, C. W. (2009). Contesting neoliberal discourses in EAP: Critical praxis in an IEP classroom. Journal of English for Academic Purposes8(2), 111-120.

Glassman, R. (2016). Caring Capitalism: A New Middle Class Base for the Welfare State. Springer.

Klein, N. (2007a). Disaster capitalism. Harper’s Magazine315, 47-58.

Klein, N. (2007b). The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. Macmillan.

Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the twenty-first century. Belknap Press.

Vrasti, W. (2011). ” Caring” Capitalism and the Duplicity of Critique. Theory & Event14(4).

Wright, C., & Nyberg, D. (2015). Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-destruction. Cambridge University Press.





Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms Are Independent of the Structural Equation Modeling Narrative!

Antenarrative generative mechanisms exist in the quantum nature of things in ways that are independent of narrative. My colleagues and I have been theorizing and studying several kinds of antenarrative generative mechanisms.

Drawing by Marita Svane in Boje and Svane article

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

Figure 1: Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs) (Drawing by Marita Svane in Svane & Boje, 2014, 2015). Key: BME stands for beginning, middle, end narrative coherence emplotment

In particular, antenarrative generative mechanisms are ontologically the ‘fores’ before, beneath, between, and bets in the becoming that are independent of both living story webs of lived experience (life in-the-middle) and independent of dominant narratives and counternarratives (see Boje, 2014 fore definitions of the fores, and articles listed in references for actual studies).

My purpose: In this essay, I want to argue that the intelligibility of sensemaking in organizational science itself presupposes the intransitivity of antenarrative generative mechanisms through which narrative and counternarrative formation and outcomes are obtained. In short, antenarrative generative mechanisms are not in a transitive  sequence after living stories and before narrative and counternarrative

Antenarrative generative mechanisms are quantum things existential, intransitive, and independent of narrative and counternarrative manifestations.  Antenarrative generative mechanisms (fore-having to fore-care in Figure 1) are grounded in the ‘real‘ something that endures and acts in characteristic ways.

Roy Bhaskar (1975: 49-50) makes a point we can apply to antenarrative generative mechanisms. In closed systems with the controlled conditions of a lab experiment, the causal laws , and causal agents of particular generative mechanisms can be identified empirically (sometimes), however in open systems there are countervailing generative mechanisms and countervailing causes that make generative mechanisms identification more a tendency, a potentiality of what may or may not be in play.

Antenarrative generative mechanisms, (AGMs) therefore, in the open systems of organizing (and organization) are ‘real’ but do not always become causal agents, since there are competing causal generative mechanisms.

As Mike Bonifer reminds me, these relationships, however are not linear, so there’s no tight, bound, deterministic set  of predictable phenomena or easy-to-track cause-effect BME narratives that can be, let’s say, ‘seen ahead of time.’ there’s too much environmental influence. Instead, there are tendencies and probabilities that emerge from the field. At which point we can choose or design a new game/AGM, or we can modify the original to produce stronger signals, and more congruence and coherence from the field.

In Bhaskar’s (1975) theory of transcendental realism, ‘real’ is more encompassing than the ‘actual’ and both are greater than the ’empirical’ positivism.  There is an ontological distinction between event patterns, experiences & their sensemaking), and the antecedent AGMs which have “real independence” in ‘open systems’ (Bhaskar, 1975: 13). “Hence one of the chief objections to positivism is that it cannot show why or the conditions under which experience is significant in science” (IBID., p. 13, boldness mine).

Take for example the empirical positivism of ‘Structural Equation Modeling’ in opposition to AGMs. SEM depreciates the role of theory, whereas AGM demands it. SEM positivism does not demonstrate the AGMs (or other causal mechanisms) outside the ‘closed systems; of experimental conditions, where event pattern conjunctions are verified in statements of sensemaking of experiences. From the SEM empirical positivism results, generalizations are made in a narrative account (an ethnostatistics rhetoric of interpreting the model equations). In SEM studies, the intelligibility of the retrospective sensemaking of the empirical experiences in the closed system occurs independently of open system event patterns, experiences before sensemaking, and any antecedent AGMs are dismissed from the empiric playing field. Bhaskar argues that the domain of the ‘real’ is distinct from the domains of the ‘actual; and the much narrower domain of of ’empirical positivism’. Living story ‘event-ness’ is enacted in both the domain of the ‘real; and the domain of the ‘actual.’ AGMs are ways of acting of things, antecedent to humans doing social constructions of sensemaking, or narrating this or that event pattern, or conducting empirical positivism, such as SEM. The things themselves are ‘telling a story’ (as William James, 1907: 97 puts it) is an accounting of some AGMs antecedent to human species making sense.


Figure 2: Three domains (real > actual > empirical positivism) within the three kinds of realities: AGM, Event Patterns, and Experiences (& their sensemaking) – original drawing by Boje, Nov. 14 2016

The weakness of SEM is that it ties its causal laws and set of variable statements to a ‘closed system’ rather than continuing empirical-testing in ‘open systems.’ In ‘Open systems’ the relation of antecedent cause and consequent effect is loosely coupled because there are always alternative causes and AGMs that can and do come into play. The science dialectical development in the opposition of SEM with AGMs in this example, has no foreseeable ending (never a synthesis). this is because as each level of reality is discovered, a new theory is eventually constructed, and in AGMs is empirically tested (or can be) to discern what happens on each level , using available or new experimental techniques and new sense-extending  observational equipment. However, as in the Double Slit experiment, the law-like behavior of waves and particles, resides in the ‘real’ antecedent to the observed event patterns and their experiences (& observational sensemaking). It does not lie in the event nor in the experience domains, which are affected.

What Bhaskar (1975, 1993) is proposing is a dialectic science that goest the next step to challenge the problems of induction (Popper) with falsification.  SEM portends to do falsification, by setting one model against auxiliary models of variable relations. The problem of course, is reductionism, where the real and actual are reduced to the domain of empirical positivism. Bhaskar calls this the epistemic fallacy, the reduction of ontologies to just epistemology.  There is a dialectic here between empirical positivism and antecedents such as AGMs.  The creative model tests of SEM imagines AGM to be irrelevant. However, ‘transcendental realism; of AGM calls for empirical-testing of the empirical generalizations of SEM (their transcendental idealism is called into question), which calls for an “empirical scrutiny” (Bhaskar, 1975: 15).

In this dialectic the science of organization grows and develops by opposing transcendental realism (e.g. AGM) with empirical realism (and its transcendental idealism generalizations, e.g SEM). The theoretic assumption is that AGMs can come to be know as ‘real,’ in the process of meaning, their Being-in-the-world itself, in the entities, in thing-ness, that has what Jane Bennett calls onto-story.

Jane Bennett (2001) first coined the notion, ‘onto-story’ in her writing on enchantment and disenchantment. Her work builds upon Stephen White’s notions of weak ontology and its role in social theory. Weak ontology is defined by Bennett as a style of theorizing that includes a set of claims about humans and the fundamental character of the world, even when such claims are contestable. She then develops onto-stories of enchanted materialism.  Her ontology approach is rooted in Deleuze and Guattari, how the refrain plays in an onto-tale of enchantment.

Bennett (2004: 347) draws upon “Lucretius, Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour” to develop an ontological “materialism of lively matter to be placed in conversation with the historical materialism of Marx and the body materialism of feminist and cultural studies.” Bennett contends that “thing-power materialism is a speculative onto-story, an admittedly presumptuous attempt to depict the nonhumanity that flows around and through humans”(p. 347)). In onto-story, “agency, is the property of an assemblage” (p. 354). In Bennett’s (2010) more recent book, Vibrant Matter, there is a concept of onto-story, how the assemblage applying Latour’s (2005) actor-network-theory is ontological-storytelling. Things have a history and are swept up in some path of existence, in the middle of some situation in space and time.  Bennett (2010) calls it ‘onto-story,’ or ontological storytelling, of our human relationship the material assemblage:

“The way chemicals affect our moods or our bodily functions is a clear exemplar. Matters can hinder our will, and even act as “quasi agents” to affect our will through their thing power” (Bennett, 2010: xii).

 More at Boje book on Advanced Interviewing Methods for Organization Science.

To summarize, my deductive theory is that antenarrative generative mechanisms (AGMs) ontology is independent of the empirical positivism ontology, such as the retrospective sensemaking in organization science in these ways:

  1. Retrospective sensemaking narratives (and counternarratives) acts of perception (Weick, 1995) presuppose the intransitivity of antenarrative generative mechanisms. For narrative sensemaking to occur, to cohere, there must be antenarrative generative mechanisms.
  2. In fact, it is the independence of antenarrative generative mechanisms that are the very means by which the ‘meaning’ of sensemaking perception empirically depends.
  3. Antenarrative generative mechanisms (AGMs_ are fore-events that act and endure independent of the retrospective narrative experience.
  4. We can demonstrate this in fore-caring, which is scientifically trainable for observers to be aware of particular fores (fore-having, fore-structuring, fore-conception, fore-telling, & fore-care) in Heideggerian ontology that antecedes and changes  empirical ontological retrospective sensemaking objects of perception and experience.  Fore-telling itself is an antenarrative generative mechanism necessary to prospective sensemaking.
  5. Antenarrative generative mechanisms  (AGMs_must have a distinct Being-ness, a once-occurrent event-ness of Being (as Bakhtin puts it) in space, in time, in mattering which as Barad (2003, 2007, 2011) are inseparable spacetimemattering of quantum things that are independent yet entangled with retrospective sensemaking experience. Quantum things-ness telling a story (as William James, 1907: 97 puts it) is an accounting of something antenarrative.
  6. Indeed, I do not think narrative (& counternarrative) is the primary object of storytelling processes out of which events and state of event sequence are being reconstructed retrospectively in sensemaking (Boje, in press). Rather, narrative (& counternarrative) along with living stories and antenarrative generative mechanisms  (AGMs_are what constitutes the domain of storytelling.
  7. Quantum things are independent events of sensemaking experience (perceptions) and actualize the unperceived, in the absence of the human species (which is the basis of posthumanist philosophy of science). Antenarrative generative mechanisms (AGMs) can be perceived or remain unperceived event-ness. In the later, it is still meaningful posthumanist philosophy.
  8. There must therefore be (for all the above deductive components) an dependence of antenarrative generative mechanisms (AGMs), particularly in the open systems (& systemicities) of complex organizations, that is more intelligible in closed systems where the causal relations are more selective in experimentation. In the open systems of organizing and organization, there are assemblages, ensembles, and while existent, the antenarrative generative mechanisms remain as potential partners with narrative (& counternarrative) and the web of living stories, all of which make for the entanglement of a storytelling domain.

With this as the basis of the independence of AGMs, I would like to conclude with quantum storytelling.

What is Quantum Storytelling? In William James (1907: 97) terms, “things tell a story.” Now in quantum storytelling, all the things are living, alive in a native ‘living story’ sense (Gladstone, 2012; Boje, 2014). Quantum things tell stories of the flux of interacting, complex, and unfinished organizing projects relates to Hitchin and colleagues (2015) , focus on untold stories, their multiplicity, and sociomateriality in ‘real’ spacetimemattering (Barad, 2002, 2007; Boje & Henderson, 2014; Henderson & Boje, 2015; Strand, 2011) of organizations. Quantum storytelling (Hitchin, 2015: 221) attends to attractors, fractals, virtual fragments, stings, flux contingencies, complexity, contradictions, and the forever inability of obtaining consensus, synthesis or harmony between untold and fragmented stories and the overarching, dominant, representational narratives.

You are welcome to attend the annual quantum storytelling conference held each December in Las Cruces New Mexico. http://davidboje.com/quantum for details.



Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter.” Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Vol. 28 (3): 801-831). On line at http://www.kiraoreilly.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/signsbarad.pdf

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham/London: Duke University Press.

Barad, K. (2011). Nature’s queer performativity. Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences19(2), 121-158. Accessed on line May 25, 2016 https://tidsskrift.dk/index.php/kkf/article/download/51863/95446

Bennett, J. (2001). The enchantment of modern life: attachments, crossings, and ethics. Princeton University Press.

Bennett, J. (2004). The force of things steps toward an ecology of matter.Political theory32(3), 347-372.

Bennett, Jane (2010). Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. NC: Duke University Press.Bhaskar, Roy. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science. Leeds, UK: Leeds Books Ltd. http://uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Roy_Bhaskar_A_Realist_Theory_of_Science.pdf

Boje, D. M. (1995). “Stories of the Storytelling Organization: A Postmodern Analysis of Disney as ‘Tamara-land.'” Academy of Management Journal. 38(4): 997-1035.*http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/DisneyTamaraland.html or print out the PDF version

Boje, D. M. (2012). Reflections: What does quantum physics of storytelling mean for change management?. Journal of Change Management, 12(3), 253-271.

Boje, D. M. (2014). Storytelling Organizational Practices: Managing in the Quantum Age. London/NY: Routledge.

Boje, D. M. (in press). Two Theories of Counternarrative: Communicative Constitution of Organizations (CCO) and Storytelling Organization Theory (SOT) special issue, on Counternarrative, accepted Nov 5, 2016, European J. of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management.     See pre-press PDF.

Boje, D. M. (2008). Storytelling Organizations. London: Sage.

Boje, D. M. (2011). Storytelling and the Future of Organizations: An Antenarrative Handbook (London: Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society)

Boje, D. M. (2012a). Quantum Storytelling. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. (2012b) Quantum Spirals for Business Consulting. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. & Henderson, T. L. (Eds.). (2014). Being Quantum: Ontological Storytelling in the Age of Antenarrative. Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Boje, D. M., Svane, M., Henderson, T. L., & Strevel, H. B. (in press). Critical corporate social responsibility in tamara-land: The role of tetranormalizing fractals. In R. Ocler (Ed.), Book chapter for a Springer collection, Rodolphe Ocler (ed.).

Boje, M., & Svane, M., Gergerich, E. (in press). Counternarrative and Antenarrative Inquiry in Two Cross-Cultural Contexts. Cross Cultural Management.

Gladstone, J. (2012). Old Man and Coyote Barter: An inquiry into the spirit of a Native American business philosophy. Dissertation, New Mexico State University, unpublished.

Haraway, D. (2007). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Pp. 109-134 in Kristin Asdal, Brita Brenna and Ingunn Moser (Eds.) Technoscience The Politics of Interventions. Norway: Unipub.

Henderson, T. & Boje, D. 2015, Organizational Development and Change Theory. Managing Fractal Organizing Processes. Routledge.

Hitchin, Linda (2015). Method and story fragments: Working through untold method. Pp. 213-238 in Hitchin, L., Izak, M., & Anderson, D. ((Eds.) Untold Story Futures. Untold Stories in Organizations. NY/London: Routledge.

Izak, M., & Hitchin, L. (2014). Special Issue: Untold Stories in Organizations. Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 12(1): po. 506.

Heidegger, M. (1929/1962/2008). Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson in 1962 from the 1929 German, with 2008 introduction by Taylor Carmon. NY: Harper Row.

Hitchin, L., Izak, M., & Anderson, D. (2015). Untold Story Futures. Untold Stories in Organizations, 239-248 in Hitchin, L., Izak, M., & Anderson, D. ((Eds.) Untold Story Futures. Untold Stories in Organizations. NY/London: Routledge. http://crawl.prod.proquest.com.s3.amazonaws.com/fpcache/4833d585cb3cedbc06f4eaf2ebd5b64c.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJF7V7KNV2KKY2NUQ&Expires=1476025784&Signature=SpxajwtYtKE2%2FHHbfKn6ITiSHVo%3D

James, W. (1907). Pragmatism. A new name for some old ways of thinking. New York: Longmans.

Svane, M., & Boje, D. (2014). Merger strategy, cross-cultural involvement and polyphony. Between Cultures and Paradigms, IACCM 2014, University of Warwick, UK. Conference Proceeding. To be published in: European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management.

Svane, M., & Boje, D.; Gergerich, Erika M. (2015). Counternarrative and Antenarrative Inquiry in Two Cross-Cultural Contexts. Accepted for publication in Special Issue on counternarrative, European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence.

Svane, M., & Boje, D. (2015). Tamara land fractal change management – in between managerialist narrative and polyphonic living stories. Sc’Moi, Standing Conference for Management and Organizational Inquiry, Las Vegas.

Varra, Eero; Sonenshein, Scott; Boje, David. M. (2015). “Narratives as Sources of Stability and Change in Organizations: Approaches and Directions for Future Research”, Academy of Management Annals. Nov 24 2015 published on Taylor & Francis Online. It is available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19416520.2016.1120963

Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in Organizations. CA: Sage.

Žižek, S. (2012). Less than nothing: Hegel and the shadow of dialectical materialism. Verso Books.


What will Trump’s Election mean for the Public Research University?

Capitalism has achieved a new Social Order in its late modern global capitalism. The corporate executive,  Donald Trump, is now is President of the US.

Extending from David Harvey, I will venture to say, this election will not do anything positive to help the Public Research University (PRU). Trump has made no promises for the PRU. I would like to suggest it is moving rapidly away from John Dewey’s ideas about democracy into the PRU as Academic Capitalism.

There is something distinctive about the current variant of neoliberal Public Research University (PRU) education. There has been a shift in collective intelligence (John Dewey) form clan, to hierarchy, to market. Can the PRU reconnect with its social mission, to elevate the collective intelligence of the people to guide what John Dewey (1937) calls ‘collective action; ?

  • “The foundation of democracy is faith in the capacities of human nature; faith in human intelligence and in the power of pooled and cooperative experience.  It is not belief that these things are complete but that if given a show they will grow and be able to generate progressively the knowledge and wisdom needed to guide collective action….  While what we call intelligence be distributed in unequal amounts, it is the democratic faith that it is sufficiently general so that each individual has something to contribute, whose value can be assessed only as it enters into the final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all.”—  John Dewey, “Democracy as a Way of Life”, a 1937 speech cited in Introductory Readings in Philosophy, Robert R. Ammerman and Marcus G. Singer, eds. (Wm. C. Brown, 1960) pp. 276-277.

The Public Research University (PRU)of full participation of all, is being thoroughly transformed and dismantled, into a generator of inequality. The push toward mass public higher education for all has been displaced by a push to maximizing economic efficiency in the ‘global knowledge economy.’

Lawrence Busch tells it like it is. He critiques all the journal ranking, the university ranking, the obsessing the faculty, auditing us incessantly:

he PRU is now shifted form global knowledge society (access to pubic higher education) to a global knowledge economy (gap in access). In short, now we have a neoliberal knowledge economy PRU that is actually widening the gap between the Haves and Haves-Nots.

The PRU now contributes to inequality, rather than to its role after WWI in reducing inequality. See Holmwood (2014) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02601370.2013.873213

I want to make a factual case, and will start with the income gams in the postwar decades, followed by decline in recent decades.


source https://mises.org/blog/2015-fbi-report-homicides-still-near-1950s-levels

The PRU had made a contribution to the democratic life of a nation after WWII, until the decline began in the 1970s. Now look what happens after the 1973 oil crisis:


Now the PUR is expected only to contribute to a nation’s economic growth. Training for career employment of skilled workforce, and development of research that has commercial value to corporations. Teaching is being separated from research, as adjuncts and teaching assistants increasingly take over teaching undergraduate courses, while  new faculty seeking tenure and fully tenured faculty do the research. Ellen Shrecker the historian, has got an amazing history of the shift in the PRU from WWII till now.

WATCHED Ellen Shrecker


“Something massive and important has happened in the United States over the past 50 years: Economic wealth has become increasingly concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy Americans: (Alvin Chang, May 23 2016, vox.com).

The rich got richer, and the poor got poorer since the 1970s. http://www.vox.com/2016/5/23/11704246/wealth-inequality-cartoon  “So here we are in the 1930s. This is when we start seeing a strengthening of labor unions, a federal minimum wage, the establishment of Social Security and unemployment insurance, and increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Economist Paul Krugman calls this phenomenon “The Great Compression” because these policies created a lot more parity — and held inequality at bay for about 40 years.”

If nothing is done to redress income inequalities by improving access to PRU, the prediction is there will be 25 percent less upward mobility (vox.com).

Effective operation of a ‘free’ market for PRU education is now the priority, while producing democratic citizens is marginalized. PRU access is no longer open to every student who would like to pursue it. Rather those students with access to tuition discounts, and to loan debt, have access.

See Holmwood, J. (2011). A manifesto for the public university. A&C Black. and Holmwood, J. (2014). From social rights to the market: neoliberalism and the knowledge economy. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 33(1), 62-76. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02601370.2013.873213

    1. John Holmwood – The university, democracy and the public interest – 19 January 2016

      For more information on the University of Brighton’s Centre for Applied Politics, Philosophy and Ethics (CAPPE) Lecture Series on …

The corporate form of PRU, matches the transformation of the corporation itself. And the corporation is becoming more like the university, in the emergence of the knowledge economy.  The PRU is now a management structure of cost centers and managerial decision making in a marketization of all PRU functions, and its subordination to global, market-based knowledge economy. This promotes widening inequality, pricing it out of the possibility for more and more students. This is a radical system modification of the university, and its role in society, and the market economy. Democratic inclusion becomes less and less possible with the deterioration of the PRU role in increasing social mobility by increasing access to education.

The ending of direct public funding of PRU is having an impact on student loan debt, and is accelerating inequity, that is dramatically affecting our democratic life, and reemergence of inequality and lack of social and economic mobility. It is the de-professionalization of public and social services, as they serve customers rather than clients, and is reduced from deomocratic-citizen to bureaucracy to the market (in a fulfillment of the corporation under conditions of transaction cost economics) in order to marketize shareholder value by marketizing the internal economy of the PRU..

Meanwhile the Top 1%  who were contained after the creation of social security, and the labor movement of 1913, after the 1973 oil embargo, made a steady climb to attain wealth accumulation.


Source of image http://the-business-scholar.blogspot.com/2014/06/culture-change-at-chrysler-group-llc-pe.html

In the beginning universities operated by adhocracy (flexible, adaptable, and informal organizational structure without bureaucratic policies or procedures).  Faculty became clan governed and had the space to create, have agility, and live in constant change. The PRU in hierarchy, was all about control, with the leader coordinating everything the faculty and student does with the help of digital technology and high does of Taylorism, Fayolism, and Weberism to kee the bureaucratic PRU humming along. The PRU has moved from adhocracy to clan, to TFW hierarchy, and now to market bases of transaction cost economics. This is a radical shift in the PRU, with the last phase from TFW hierarchy to market-focused university reproducing inequality in the society.  With marketization of PRU, it is no longer in the service of democratic knowledge.


source of image: http://the-business-scholar.blogspot.com/2014/06/culture-change-at-chrysler-group-llc-pe.html

Market is seen as a way of aggregating knowledge of PRU faculty and students.  The Mass education is now seen as a distortion of markets. The neoliberal ideology says the market can align faculty research and teaching to serve market needs.The commitment of PRU to reduce income inequalities has shifted, and only economic efficiency and academic capitalism counts. There is an increasing subordination of PRU to market mechanisms inits academic capitalism form. The internal form of the PRU changes in ways that is relevant to democracy. There is a de-professionalizaiton of the faculty role into subordination to the administrative hierarchy by increases in Taylorism, Fayoloism, and Weberism (The TFW virus).

As a Market-Economy, the PRU orientation is to compete, its leaders are hard-drivers, and the value drives is market share, and the theory of effectiveness is aggressively competing to meet customer expectations. In the socioeconomic approach to management, we help organizations move out of Taylorism-Fayolism-Weberism  (TFW virus) into the Adhocracy, where being Agile once more becomes possible.

The State is no longer interested in solving social problems, or in a ‘problem based learning; (PBL). Rather the interest is in the performativity indicators (outcomes assessment, journal article ranking, university rankings, accreditation) that set standards to discipline behavioral change in PRU.

The focus now of the PRU is on redefining the faculty labor contract, and social rights and medical benefits of graduate research assistants and teaching assistants , while treating them as employees of the university rather than as students, and how this upholds employer rights over its employees.

Why have we forgotten the charge of universities in the public sphere (Habermas) in the 1950s and 1960s, and the improper functioning public sphere since the 1970s.  The public sphere is not reduced to its corporate form, managerial hierarchy, and the dismantling of the PRU, and unbundling the mission of citizenship.

The problems of Late modern capitalism since the 1970s has everything to do with utilitarian shift of the PRU, derived form the corporation, and its market that is becoming the PRU market.

After the 1980s, the relation of PRU to its context shifted, and a particular corporate context took over. Public education was to upgrade all jobs, and decrease income inequality.

We are witnessing a reduction of the space of the public university in order to establish the hegemony of the corporation, in its promotion of Academic Capitalism.

The university as a knowledge economy in 2016 exhibits key socioeconomic dysfunction to drive down working conditions and wages of the PRU itself in a process of deskilling faculty, staff, and eventually the administrative hierarchic order.

Products of research are being sold to the highest bidder. We are getting a reengineering of PRU research that assumes structural determinants of behavior of faculty, students, and staff. We have the rise of anti=social sciences in an arcane form of behavioral sciences (John Hollywood).

John Dewey argued that the public depends on dialogue, with politics as the interplay of publics. The market is outside of dialogue, and in that sense, anti-democratic.

The neoliberal knowledge economy regime is narrowing the possiblity of any inclusion of poverty and lower class students, and making middle class access more and more prohibitive PRU higher education . It is a narrow focus on non-inclusive economic growth as the wealthy class opts out of the mass higher education model that was viable after WWII until the 1973 oil embargo. In sum, in 2016 the PRU is no longer inclusive of the lower class or middle class. The system is now designed for tuition and fees to rise, and have no cap, which is the language of global higher education regime is more efficient form of Academic Capitalism.

PRU are being reengineered, and unbundled, as the functions of the university are being outsourced  and privatized to the so-called ‘free market” (which does not exist) under the banner of an efficiency of PRU. Free market is actually bifurcated, with those in student, faculty, and staff positions being disciplined and punished by the ‘free market’ while the wealthy corporations and 1% billionaires are granted access to a welfare market.

Research is being commodified in the PRU. In the Entrepreneurial State, the PRU accepts the risk for the research, while the corporation reaps the benefits of the research. And the research under the drive to quickly get to market, is decreasing the creativity of research.

PRU is reengineered to seek corporate for-profit partners. The new partnerships set up to derive profit from sectors of the PRU, in order to make those profits available to shareholders. For example, speed up commercializations of faculty knowledge (research) by patenting and licensing to commercialize the commons.

STEM subjects have continued public funding by federal government, and are therefore protected, as compared to non-STEM subjects.

What should a PRU be?  We need to understand our own complicity in the  de-professionalization of our faculty work. If we are bystanders, sticking our heads in the sand, then the marketization of the university goes on without any resistance.

What comes next? I think Chris Newfield has his finger on the pulse of the PRU. We have gone through a major shift, and its going to take the Left to stand up and be counted, which they were not willing to do yesterday, in the Trup

Newfield, C. (2008). Unmaking the public university: The forty-year assault on the middle class. Harvard University Press.

  1. Newfield, Christopher


    What Comes After the Neoliberal University? Escalating Conflicts over Higher Education Part 1

    The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) organized a lecture by …
  2. I hope Chris is right, and the left will get more active, and bring the kinds of reforms of the 1930s.

Professor-Ant, Public University-Dove, and Neoliberal-Bird Catcher Story

Professor-Ant, Public University-Dove, and Neoliberal-Bird Catcher Story

Blog post by David M. Boje, Ph.D.

 In Aesop’s Fable: “An ANT went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of drowning. A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her. The Ant climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterwards a bird catcher came and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches. The Ant, perceiving his design, stung him in the foot. In pain the bird catcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove take wing.”

My Storyteller’s CRITICAL TRANSLATION: The professor (Ant) taught courses to quench student’s thirst for knowledge. The professor (Ant) got carried away doing more and more research and teaching, to the point of burnout. The Public University (Dove) intervened providing a better teaching load, and a graduate assistant to help. Shortly after a neoliberal Bird Catcher named World Bank attempted to catch the Public University (Dove), implement ‘performance budgeting’, made students into customers, downsized the number of faculty and staff, increase workload of survivors, or just replaced them with adjuncts, they are paid far less than full professors. The professor (Ant) seeing World Bank’s grand design to end every public research university confronted the neoliberal agenda with a cost-benefit critique. The bird catcher (World Bank) retreated deciding to hunt in another state, and Higher Education did take wing, free for another day.

Like the bird catcher, World Bank is out hunting for public universities to trap, and put in the cage of ‘Academic Capitalism.’ The goal of World Bank is to coerce faculty into giving up their power and become more entrepreneurial. The bait is set out. An entrepreneurial way the public university can use entrepreneurship ventures to make up for declining State funds. There is a trade off for this marketization: The student becomes customer, business becomes investor, and other universities are competitors.

The World Bank neoliberal agenda imposes ‘performance budgeting’ on each nation’s public universities, in which consumer determined output indicators, are used to reallocate university resources according to ‘student-is-customer’ needs.

The end game is final the demise of classic humanities curriculum, and destruction of traditional research university (CAUT).

Les Levidow (2005: 157) has an excellent chapter on ‘Neoliberal Agendas for Higher Education, including analysis of World Bank report, the Neoliberal Agenda for Public Universities, is revealed:

“The reform agenda … is oriented to the market rather than to public ownership or to governmental planning and regulation. Underlying the market orientation of tertiary education is the ascendance, almost worldwide, of market capitalism and the principles of neoliberal economics”

“Since the 1990s, universities worldwide have been urged to adopt commercial models of knowledge, skills, curriculum, finance, accounting, and management organization: (p. 157).

Harvey’s (2007) neoliberalism theory has these premises

  1. Privatization and commodification of public assets such as the public university
  2. Financialization that is speculative and predatory through mergers and acquisitions, raiding of pension funds, decimation of public university financial reserves
  3. Management and manipulation of crises to spring “the debt trap” as primary means of accumulation by dispossession. Creating crisis (starving the beast) then consuming the beast in order to pillage public university assets. Deliberate creation of student debt, and then unemployment after graduation as a way to produce labor surplus. Sometimes the crises spiral out of control and become too severe, which prompts revolts agains the managerial systems of surveillance and control (e.g. Zapatista uprising in Mexico)
  4. State redistributions – the state, once neoliberalized becomes the primate of redistributive policies to reverse slow from upper to lower class (in phase one privatization and cutback by State expenditures). If the rent to own of tiny homes converts a valuable asset into accessibility by the lower and middle class, the danger is after the transfer is accomplished, tiny housing speculation takes over, forcing the homeless and low income out to the periphery again, back into the tents and missions dorms.

Harvey argues the main achievement of neoliberalization has been to redistribute wealth rather than to generate it (159).

Dismantling public universities through acts of privatization, increasing tuition, and promising a culture of entrepreneurialism (Harvey, 2007: 61). Consent is forged more easily during budget crisis. Entrepreneurialism promises individual freedom and wealth in the marketplace, where each individual is responsible for their own actions and well-being (p. 65).

Years of Budget Cuts are Putting Public University education out of reach for more and more students

I found some more info on this World Bank neoliberal ‘entrepreneurial agenda for public universities (CAUT):

“But the World Bank’s reform agenda still emerged from the conference alive and raring to go. Their The Financing and Management of Higher Education: A Status Report on Worldwide Reforms, written for the UNESCO conference, explains that the reform agenda ‘is oriented to the market rather than to public ownership or to governmental planning and regulation. Underlying the market orientation of tertiary education is the ascendance, almost worldwide, of market capitalism and the principles of neo-liberal economics.’”

The Neoliberal rationality goes like this. Public university is a ‘private’ good because education is in limited supply, not demanded by all, and is available for a price (tuition). Students are consumers, but so are business and industry. The problem is faculty and administrators of public universities are not well-informed service providers on the ways of market forces. The neoliberal agenda is therefore is to make higher education completely self-financing (CAUT):

  • increasing tuition fees;
  • (charging full cost fees for room and board;
  • testing for all student loans;
  • charging full market rates of interest on all loans;
  • improving collection of loans through private companies, and
  • introduction of a graduate tax;
  • training faculty in entrepreneurship;
  • selling research and courses

NOTE the Difference in 3 Blue and The Red States above; Alaska has Permanent Fund, a Rainy Day fund for education.


What Can the Ants Do?

We must create dialectic opposition world-historical significance to counteract the prevailing socioeconomic order. To do this we embrace the contradictions of the world order and its university. Is education reform from below possible?

Neoliberal forms of marketization and entrepreneurship turn public education into a commodity, and use market measures performance indicators. The Faculty critics can deomonstrate how all these aspects are linked to change the content of faculty work, and student learning, as part of a World Bank global agenda to marketize public universities. Circulate analyses of anti-marketization struggles to create alternative futures to the neoliberal university strategy. De-reify the neoliberal narrative that says, ‘There Is No Alternative’ (TINA) to Marketization. Find alternatives, present the preponderance of evidence and get a critical debate going at every public university around the world. Distribute counter-narratives and critical pedagogies. Engage in Theater of the Oppressed pedagogies that enhance student’s critical citizenship and critical leadership praxis. Debate the TINA world future with world-making alternative futures.

Recent Related BLOGS

We Can Challenge the TINA-Narrative with Untold Stories to Reverse the Downward Spiral of New Mexico’s Public Universities and K-12
7:29 am on October 12, 2016

TINA: The Perfect ‘Neoliberal’ Storm is Crushing Public Universities in New Mexico
7:38 am on October 6, 2016


Giroux, H. A. (1979). Schooling and the Culture of Positivism: Notes on the Death of History. Educational theory, 29 (4), 263-284.

Harvey, D. (2007). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford University Press, USA. http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30224442/harvey6.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1475874140&Signature=kUfHTnrPw1DNW4fRhkIkk3aCM9U%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DA_brief_history_of_neoliberalism.pdf

Slaughter, S. and Leslie, L.L (1997) Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies and the Entrepreneurial University. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.



We Can Challenge the TINA-Narrative with Untold Stories to Reverse the Downward Spiral of New Mexico’s Public Universities and K-12

We Can Challenge the TINA-Narrative with Untold Stories to Reverse the Downward Spiral of New Mexico’s Public Universities and K-12 – Blog Post by David M. Boje, Ph.D.

Figure 1: Two-Faced JANUS (figure by David Boje). 

Above drawing of New Mexico’s Two-Faced Janus, the duality of the mask of TINA-narrative facing one way, and the mask of Untold Story facing the other direction. The two-masks are inseparable, and yet are unable to communicate with one another in New Mexico’s crisis of public education.

I hear the The lawmakers’ TINA narrative: Yet another budget cut is the only alternative because of a downturn in oil and gas markets. It’s another TINA story (TINA is neoliberal speak for ‘There is No Alternative‘ to linking education to free market capitalism).

We have been hearing more ‘bad news’, more TINA-narratives for New Mexico’s public universities and for K-12. Saturday (Oct 8, 2016) the Headline of the Las Cruces Sun-News: “Cuts will cost LCPS, NMSU“. LCPS – Las Cruces Public Schools and NMSU – New Mexico State University, where I work these past 20 years. Lawmakers slashed funds to education, a $89 million cut to public schools, and a 5% cut to the Higher Education Department.In Las Cruces this means a reduction of $2.82 million from the K-12 budget, and the NMSU will have to cut $10 million more, after just making a $12.1 million cut that cost the positions of 101 faculty, and 19 staff, plus closures to a number of equine programs, and some of the health center programs, and the dissolution of survey engineering department (which has some resistance).

I am a Regents Professor. What I learned at last Thursday’s (Oct 6th 2016) meeting of the Regents Professor with the Chancellor and Provost is a ‘untold’ good news story: The NMSU Chancellor and Provost believe these latest reductions can be achieved through one-time cuts, rather than more position and program cuts. Good news indeed!

I am also an internationally recognized storytelling scholar (Boje, 2008, 2012, 2014), and my thirty-five years, of storytelling work, suggests that is an ‘untold story’ to the TINA,

there is an alternative to the downward spiral of public universities. I live in the content of Untold Story,  I enter the content of untold story, but the force of TINA-narrative, its judgment of budget cut necessity, is “a terrifying deadly, and destructive force” (Bakhtin 1993; 6).

My Hero: Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975). Bakhtin (1993: 2) wrote about the two-faced Janus, in his composition notebooks in the early 1920s. He calls it a two-faced (or two-sided) answerability of Sense (what I call TINA), and Content (what I call Untold Story).  The Sense-Answerability makes judgments based on ‘petrified narrative’, on intuition, on inductive logic from a few cases (or no cases at all). The Content-Answerability is the entire landscape of all the Untold Stories, of alternatives, that would do what Karl Popper (1934), calls falsification. TINA-narrative is the answerability of inductive sensemaking that tries to establish validity by theory-verification, case-by-case.  But, the problem of induction, is you need to disprove the theory, to falsify it with evidence of an alternative that does exist. If an alternative exist, the TINA cannot claim validity. If no alternative exists, then untold stories of alternatives, cannot be real!

  1. TINA is terrifying because it has surrendered to the will of budget cut as law of lawmakers.
  2. TINA is fearful because its induction is divorced from untold story content of actual existent alternatives.
  3. TINA is frightening parents, students, faculty, and staff o K-12 and public universities because the induction logic is not subjected to scientific research by falsification.
  4. TINA is deadly, a petrified narrative, that drains the blood life out fiscal responsibility to develop alternatives, such as a permanent rainy day fund.
  5. TINA is horrifying because as a dead narrative it has cognitively pronounced the end of history.
  6. TINA is alienating faculty and students from administration because it is against all ontological proof that there exist untold stories of alternatives.
  7. TINA is anti-science because it will not falsify its premises with study of empirical existence of alternatives.
  8. TINA is scary because the agents of budget cuts are detached from the reality of public education, preferring the advice of Deloitte consultants paid

    $618,905 for play to cut 19 staff, create span of control to reign in costs.

  9. TINA is stressful to faculty, parents, students, and staff because it is impossible to live life with out alternatives. “In that world I am unnecessary” (Bakhtin, 1993: 9). I am faculty without existence in TINA-world without future possibilities, I do not exist.
  10. TINA destroys academic life because since there is inductive logic that there is no alternative, no one is answerable to finding alternatives Being-as-event, a place with life has truth and “validity of truth” (Bakhtin, 1993: 11)

The Untold Dialectical Story of Two Doctoral Students treated as Adjunct Employees.

I got permission from two NMSU doctoral students, to tell untold story. As one put it (and we are submitting our IRB to gather more):

“Yes, you have my permission to tell my [untold] story. And one point I like to clarify is that my situation is not unique in our department. To my knowledge, other students senior than me or my peers also … are assigned three classes each year and TA two to three faculties.”

At NMSU, truth be told, some Colleges, treat their doctoral students as students, and teach them to teach, have time and support for them to learn to be great researchers, to be able to survive as professors someday. But in my own College of Business, our newest doctoral students are treated as employees, and given courses to teach, every semester.  I know of two foreign students with untold stories, because they are too fearful to speak out. One has over 40 students in a distance education course, the other has over 50 students in a distance education course. They have never taught before. They are also taking a full load of classes, and keeping their grade point up. They are working 24/7 answering emails, grading their own courses, and one or two other faculty member’s courses. When I ask why, I am told its TINA (There Is No Alternative in our College, due to the budget crisis brought on by the drop in the State of New Mexico’s oil and gas revenue, those darned market prices). But wait a minute. Let’s get at the untold dialectical story developments. If a college, such as Engineering, treats its students as students, and another college, Business, treats doctoral students as ’employees’ then this is not TINA, its actually an unethical situation, called inequality. I have talked to our Dean of the Graduate Program, and was told, doctoral candidates are NOT employees of the university, they are here to learn. If students are too afraid, of their administrative evaluators, especially our foreign students, then we as Faculty, need to step forward, and intervene, get the situation of inequality dealt with. In my college, this is an ethical standard for faculty: “Make every effort to prevent discrimination and harassment.” Why did our director of the Ph.D. program, not intervene? Turns out the authority and participation for him to make scheduling decisions of classes to be taught by doctoral candidates has been removed and given over to other administrative officers of the college. He would never ever treat our doctoral students as if they were employees, to be assigned to make up for budget cuts by the State, to make up for 101 faculty position cuts, 3 in our department, or the people leaving for greener pastures (2 in our department), or people just retiring early to get out of the storm (3 by my count). As the department faculty size atrophies, TINA is the grand narrative told to us. But, its not the only way. Our expectations is doctoral students do not teach in first year, and after that teach in areas related to career goals. In the following three years, our first year students will teach, as ‘free labor’ three courses a year, that’s nine classes. some will teach twelve (without health insurance, without tuition paid).

There is an alternative to the tired TINA-narrative that sad and bad ‘petrified’ news account about faculty, staff, and students in need of another cut. The bad news TINA-narrative goes like this: it just how the gas and oil economy works. And the punch line: Sorry, your education budget is tied directly to fluctuations in the gas and oil market. It’s just market-based budgeting, nothing to be done, but submit to it. We are expected to just shut up about it, turn the other cheek, if we have a job left, get back to work. Wait a minute!  There are untold stories here, and other sides to the TINA narrative, some very important counter-narratives need to be explored. But, wait a minute, what if there is an alternative to TINA?

What is TINA-Narrtaive can be disproven? I can do so this instant. There are actually States (Alaska & Texas) with permanent funds, set aside to keep education from falling into the abyss, that swirling vortex spiral that sucks up poor people’s children, to keep them uneducated.

Therefore the aim of this blog post is to consider how a particular economic ideology — neoliberalism —- has become a TINA-narrative, and negatively affected the public university, spiraling public education downward into the abyss., because no alternative exists. What to do? Rather than assuming that the public universities in New Mexico inherent academic qualities are only determined and fated by oil and gas market value, let’s look at untold stories and counter-narratives, and find some really amazing alternatives in our untold stories. Then tell our lawgivers: please change the system, and add a permanent fund, it’s and alternative done in Alaska, in our neighbor Texas.

Here are three kinds of untold stories to counter-TINA:

(1) The Sky Is Falling Untold Story These are more bad news, the sky is falling, the ground is opening a hellish hole and swallowing up public education in New Mexico, because the rich tax payers see a way to not pay for the poorest children in the U.S. and the second poorest families in the U.S. (lowest is Mississippi), to attend public schools.  Tell more of these bad news stories, emotional contagion sets in, but at least parents can warn their children. Parents tell you children, our prospective students, NMSU is a sinking ship, spiraling headlong into the maelstrom, about to be swallowed by a huge swirling vortex sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

(2) The Untold Story that Attracts Positivity Let’s try the other kind of untold story, a positive attractor that creates an upturn, an updraft in the spiral of education attainment. The media is not telling any good news stories, the thousands of students getting their K-12 and going on to university education, the thousands of college students that are being helped to be the first graduate of their family, ever to attend university. That by the way is my untold story: I love to help New Mexico students to succeed in university I as the first in my family tree to attend and graduate university, first to get masters, first to get Ph.D. I did it through the G.I. bill. I attended public high school, public community college, and public university. Tell more ‘good news’ stories and everyone will want to attend NMSU. Tell ‘good news’ stories about keeping faculty and staff, strengthening academic programs, and more people will sign up for Aggie-Experience tours. Submit your untold story of education-success, of positivity, to KRWG, the Sun-News and Albrqueuque Journal/

(3) The Untold Story that is Truthful and Historical in its Dialectic. Its easy to fall into the dualistic trap: there are only bad (negative thinking) untold stories of actual success-content (attractor to enrollment). But what if, there is a dialectical development untold story, in what Higgins calls the ‘untold story landscape’. What if Type 1 (negative untold story sense & judgement) and Type 2 (positive untold story content) are the Two-Faced Janus, each face facing different direction, unable to see, hear, or understand one-another, yet performing together acts and deeds because the two masks (faces) are inseparable?

My work on Tamara-land (Boje, 1995), and the ‘quantum story’  landscape (spacetimemattering), as read and extended by Linda Hitchin (2015) has “multiple, heterogeneous entanglements processing multiple threads and possibilities” (Hitchin, 2015: 227). The dialectics include the challenge of the illusion of ventriloquist or virtuoso narrative representations (like TINA) and the living story fragments and untold story webs that can be partly studied using ethnographic methods. “Quantum stories” in my work with colleagues (Boje & Henderson, 2014; Henderson & Boje, 2015) was thoughtfully combined by Hitchin (2015: 221) with Bruno Latour’s (2005) Actor Network Theory (ANT). ANT focuses on the assemblage of actors, actants, and things in moving and shifting networks that include “boundless and innumerable untold stories” for every narrative or counter-narrative that plays out in sociomateriality, where material actants have agency.  For example, oil and gas are both social, and material things, they are sociomaterial actants.

How can oil and gas be actants in New Mexico public education? Answer: There are socially determined taxes by the lawmakers, in most every State on Nature’s own materials: oil and gas.

The Untold Dialectical (His)-Story of the Sociomateriality of Earth to Market Oil and Gas entities. 

In New Mexico, the law makers in Santa Fe have created five taxes on the market value of Earth elements:  oil, natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, helium and other non-hydrocarbon gases. When these Earth elements become severed from the Earth, the are re-signified as ‘products’ and have ‘market value.’ In addition, there  is an oil and gas conservation tax applied to coal, uranium and geothermal energy, as these become ‘products’ and have ‘market value.’ There are royalties paid on these severed Earth material elements, by the severing companies or entrepreneurs, to the United States Federal Government, or to an Indian tribe (or Pueblo), minus the reasonable cost of trucking the Earth elements from the production site to the first place of sale in the market place.

My point is this third kind of ‘untold story’ is dialectical in its historical development. I don’t mean the ridiculous idea that dialectic means thesis opposed by antithesis that results in a happy ending synthesis. The thesis-antithesis-synthesis model of dialectic, is often attributed to Hegel, but it was Fichte that asserted the errant model. In fact Hegel argued against synthesis. There is no ‘synthesis’ because in dialectical development, you begin with contradictions, and as the opposing forces play out historically, you get more contradictions. And according to Žižek (2012), dialectical development runs on contradictions.  For Žižek (2012), Hegel tells a very different dialectical story than Fichte, the dialectical development process without synthesis:

“… the story he is telling in his account of a dialectical process is not the story of how an original organic unity alienates itself from itself, but the story of how this organic unity never existed in the first place, of how its status is by definition that of a retroactive fantasy—the Fall itself generates the mirage of what it is the Fall from” (Žižek, 2012: p. 952).

“… the story of the Hegelian dialectical reversal is not the story of failure as a blessing in disguise, as a (painful but necessary) step or detour towards the final triumph that retroactively redeems it, but, on the contrary, the story of the necessary failure of every success (of every direct project or act), the story of how the only “success” the subject can gain is the reflexive shift of perspective which recognizes success in failure itself.” (Žižek, 2012: p. 520).


Who Sets the Gas and Oil Severance Taxes? Are these Tax rates on Extraction of Mother Earth’s Natural Elements Different State by State? Do Other States have a Permanent Fund to Finance Education?

The Untold Dialectical Development Story. Lawgivers determine education funding available. In this untold story, the lawmakers have ethical answerability (Boje, 2008) for education. By ethical answerability, I mean the lawgivers are in the once-occurrent moment of Being, with the ability, the duty to intervene and plan for the future of education funding, and put in a rainy day permanent fund. Lawgivers, not the invisible hand of the market, do actually set the tax rate on oil and gas severance, and those rates differ state to state, and some states, such as Alaska and Texas, actually to have lawgivers who plan for a rainy day, so that Education does not Spiral downward into dissolution and destruction.

“Based on data collected by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), states’ budget stabilization funds, also called rainy day funds, totaled $47.2 billion in fiscal 2015—greater than before the recession in both nominal dollars and as a share of government expenditures.”(PEW Charitable Trust).

Let’s Compare the rates of various Oil and Gas Severance taxes (yes there is more than one) to several other states (see more state by state comparisons).

New Mexico Oil and Gas Severance Tax
  • 3.75 percent of value of oil, other liquid hydrocarbons, natural gas and carbon dioxide
  Oil and Gas Emergency School Tax • 3.15 percent of value of oil, other liquid hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide; Four percent of the value of natural gas
  Natural Gas Processor’s Tax
  • $0.0220/mmBtu tax on the volume
  Oil and Gas Ad Valorem Production Tax
  • Based on property tax in the district of production
  Oil and Gas Conservation Tax
  • 0.19 percent of value
What if we compare New Mexico (above) to the State of Mississippi, with the highest family poverty level (New Mexico is 2nd highest)? The finding is While New Mexico has 3.75% oil and gas severance tax, in Mississippi, it is 6% for both oil and gas value of production.

By the way, Graduation Rate at Mississippi State University is 60%, while at NMSU its 46%, and at UNM 48%.

Mississippi Oil and Gas Severance Tax
  • Six percent of the value at point of gas production
  • Three percent of gross value of occluded natural gas from coal seams at point of production for the well’s first five years
  • Maximum 35 mills/bbl. oil or four mills/1,000 cubic feet of gas (Oil and Gas Board maintenance tax)
  • Six percent of value at the point of oil production
  • Three percent of value at production when enhanced oil recovery is used

The argument I hear in idle talk, is if New Mexico raised the oil and gas severance tax, businesses would not locate in our state. However, let’s look at the fact, e.g. at Alaska, that has a well funded Education offiering in K-12 and University.

Alaska Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT)
  • Ranges from 25 percent to 50 percent depending on net value of oil and gas, which is the value at point of production minus certain lease expenditures
  • 22.5 percent net value at wellhead
  • There is an additional surcharge for each dollar when net value exceeds $40 per barrel. This cannot exceed 25 percent of the monthly production tax value of taxable oil and gas.
  • Conservation surcharge of 4 cents per barrel and an additional 1 cent per barrel if there is less than $50 million in the Hazardous Release Fund

If you want to read a Lawgivers TINA-narrative of the history of Oil and Gas Severance taxes, here is a link (Warning, you need to be a lawyer to understand the narrative changes, history). You will not find something that Alaska or Texas has, called the ‘Permanent Fund.’

The Untold Dialectical Development Story of States with and without a Permanent Fund to Care for Education.

In New Mexico, there is no Permanent Fund to care for or ‘feed’ education of the State with the highest child poverty rate in the U.S., and the second highest family poverty rate. What about Alaska? Alaska lawgivers created a way to fund public education, New Mexico lawgivers did not plan ahead for market turbulence.

“The Alaska Permanent Fund is a constitutionally established permanent fund managed by a state-owned corporation, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC). … The Alaska Permanent Fund sets aside a certain share of oil revenues to continue benefiting current and all future generations of Alaskans” (source).

My Hypothesis: If New Mexico actually had a Permanent Fund it would not have to Cut Millions of dollars from K-12 and Public Universities. Why? New Mexico would have saved ahead, to have reserve funds. This chart is from PEW Charitable Trust comparing New Mexico (Green) to Alaska  (Red).

The Untold Story of Permanent Funds for Education

“For many states, even pre-recession reserve levels were inadequate to plug huge budget gaps that opened as a result of the 2007-09 recession. Still, in fiscal 2015, just 19 states could cover more days’ worth of operating expenses with their reserves—counting both rainy day funds and end-of-year balances—than they could before the downturn. Only 15 states expected to end fiscal 2016 with a larger financial cushion than before the recession, according to estimates made before the fiscal year ended in most states on June 30” (PEW Charitable Trust).

Not just Alaska, but Texas also funds its public education (though not sure this is true in El Paso)

Texas Permanent Fund for Education

The Texas Permanent School Fund is a sovereign wealth fund which serves to provide revenues for funding of public primary and secondary education in the US state of Texas (source Wiki).

On page 17 of the Texas Permanent School Fund annual report, “As of August 31, 2015, $64.0 billion in school and charter district bond issues were guaranteed by the Fund in support of public education in Texas. ”

In Type Two Untold Stories, there is a strange attractor force.

An Untold Story of Shift from Negativity to Positive Attractor: It was great to get a thank you from our university Chancellor today (Oct 10):

 I know there has been a lot of anxiety around campus regarding the special session and the budget reductions that accompanied it. This is especially understandable in the wake of the other budget cuts we’ve seen at the university. … To all of our faculty, staff, and administrators who work around New Mexico, I want to say thank you. Your work is what makes NMSU a caring community and an outstanding university. Please know that it is appreciated.”

We need to find more ‘untold stories’. For example, I hear that the Marching Band students at NMSU have an 80% graduation rate. Athlete’s graduation rate is above the 46% average at NMSU. Certainly there are stories of faculty working with students to overcome barriers to success.

The retelling  of neoliberal  narrative of more crisis in public university competitiveness in university (poor graduation rates, low ROI of tuition to earning power), low competitive college rankings, and infrequent faculty publication in top-tier journals) and the need to cut budgets with each new economic crises doe pervade public university policy-making strategic decisions by boards of regents, state legislature, and university administrators.

The Dark Side of Untold Dialectical Development Stories.  This third kind of untold stories, the dialectical historical developments of what is going on beneath the TINA narrative of there is no alternative because our education budget is tied to oil and gas market activity.  John Dewey, the father of American ‘democratic’ education, was against Social Darwinism, which he called the “Gospel of Greed). I submit that when New Mexico establishes its Permanent Fund for Education, there will exist and actual alternative to TINA.

One of the dialectical trends is for the Gospel of Greed to Starve Public Education. The strategy is called ‘Starving the Beast’ and the Beast is neoliberal speak for ‘public education’ so that the 1% Wealth families will not have to pay for the Poorest families education in public schools.

It is possible for Greed to control the dialectical process, manipulate the trajectory for the benefit of the most wealthy families.

Starving the Beast: A Tragic Untold Dialectical Development Story. 

In particular, I will hypothesis that it is the manufacture of scarcity (or ‘starving the education-beast’) that has led to specific initiatives to reengineer the organizational systems and job positions of public universities in New Mexico to achieve visions of neoliberal higher education progress that has thrown public universities into a downward spiral toward oblivion.

A public university is not just a cathedral of learning, teaching, research, and service. Rather it is becoming a landscape of colonization by academic capitalism mixed with the ideology of neoliberal capitalism. There are a growing number of voices questioning the efficacy of neoliberal and academic capitalism ideologies, asking for scientific evidence to justify the colonization of faculty, student, staff, and administrative life by these ideological discourses that has, perhaps, quite disastrous consequences. This article argues that these economic ideologies are playing a significant negative role, a downward spiral of public universities practices reduced to market performance representations and calculations.

“Neoliberalism has become the dominant socio-economic paradigm in the United States and as such has tremendous impact on all aspects of our lives.

“ (Saunders, 2007: 1). Neoliberalism promotes commodification, materialism, and consumerism (McLaren, 2005; Giroux, 2004; Harvey, 2005; Chomsky, 1998). Neoliberalism is closely linked to the rise of ‘academic capitalism’ in colleges and universities, as higher education uses business principles of administration and free-market methods for increasing revenue (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997; Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004). “Academic capitalism is broadly defined as “the involvement of colleges and faculty in the past twenty years (Rhoades & Slaughter, 2004, p. 37)” (as cited in Saunders, 2007: 2).

My university, NMSU, has been transforming research, teaching, and service into revenue generating operations, engaging in technology transfers of faculty and student knowledge, patenting and licensing and transforming core educational functions into commodities sold on the open market. The untold story is that, I am sorry by private markets are not robust enough to make up for the Lawmakers of New Mexico cutting funds to K-12 and Public university education budgets.

The Untold Dialectical Story of Digitalization of the University: We are supposed to make up revenues declines in Oil and Gas by doing more Distance Education courses. The untold story is many students taking this courses are not living at a distance from NMSU. Many are working two jobs, and need to fit in courses in-between, and distance education works well for this.

The Untold Dialectical Story: After Starving the Education Beast, implement Digital Discipline and Control of the Faculty Bodies. This neoliberalism and academic capitalism transformation has led to increased emphasis on digital outcomes measurement, outcomes assessment reaccreditation measures, and competition for ranking the university, ranking the college, and ranking the journals in which faculty publish. This is greatly changed the organization and the economic realities of student life and faculty work, as well as changing the mission of colleges and universities.

More Untold Dialectical and Historical Stories of Commodification: The side you are not hearing is how Lawmakers are Using Oil and Gas Markets to justify Cuts to the Poorest State in the Union in Child Poverty, Second in Family Poverty. There are effects of neoliberalism and academic capitalism on New Mexico’s public universities. The education product is being commodified to achieve better results in university rankings, college ranking, and faculty publication in top-tier journal rankings. States are providing increasingly less revenue support, while students are being asked to accept tuition and fee increases.   New Mexico has the highest child poverty rate, and second highest family poverty rate in the entire U.S. To gut K-12 and higher education, and blame it on a drop in gas and oil price, only tells half the story, and is an unconscionable legislative policy action. The other side of the story, and indeed the ‘untold story’ is that the legislature a decade ago, started to starve the beast by pegging education funding to the gas and oil market revenue availability. Did they foresee one crisis after the next, until hundreds of K-12 and hundreds more public university staff and faculty would take place. And in sequence, could they foresee that the next step, taking place now, is the gutting of program and service, cutting up the starved beast, reassembling it by Draconian policies, born in the time of Social Darwinism, to save the fittest, the wealthy class, from paying anything at all, to educate the poverty class, and now the middle class.

The Untold Dialectical Trajectory Story of Accumulation of Wealth to the 1% Richest Scrooges in New Mexico. A critique of neoliberalism institutionalization of ‘free market’ and academic capitalism is that they are related ways for the wealth class to dominate the lower and middle class, while maintaining control, to force public universities to be no more than vocational training for jobs in the service economy. It is accomplished by what Gramsci calls hegemony (or hegemonic project) to inculcate ruling class beliefs and values as the common sense value of all. This removes the idea of questing change, and TINA) (There Is No Alternative) just becomes the common sense reaction for faculty and students.

The Untold Dialectical Development Story of Students Changing their Career Due to TINA: Students have changed their goals, and motivations for attending colleges and universities. It is less about becoming good citizens, and more about getting training in a profession. Faculty is encouraged to believe that ‘free markets’ and improving university and college ranking is a good thing. Reality, the facts, however, is far different from the neoliberalism institutionalization of public universities.

The Untold Dialectical-Historical-Development Story of Vocation as the Transformation of NMSU.  

Neoliberalism institutionalization is an ideology on how to best structure organizations, such as public universities, with strong ties to ‘free market’ regardless of effects on society (higher tuitions, more student loan debt, vocationalization of the curriculum, treating students as customers, coercing research and teaching faculty into adjunct labor, and so on). The idea system has resulted in far-reaching experiments in social reengineering of public universities.

For ‘Neoliberalism institution’ to be more than a straw man, it must become a testable theory with actual deducible premises that are subject to disproof and replacement by better auxiliary theories. Neoliberalism institutionalization theory has four deductive premises, which are verifiable and can be subjected to Karl Popper’s (1973) scientific falsification tests:

  1. Reduces the world of public university teaching, research, service, operations, and administration to a set of calculable units of useable resources, including human and natural resources (Kallinikos, 1996).
  2. A fifth cause, revealing is disclosed. Heidegger (1977) calls it the ‘standing reserve’ in his essay, questions concerning technology where he adds such ‘revealing’ as a fifth causal relationship beneath Aristotle’s fourfold (efficient, material, formal, & final causes).
  3. It is a rationality that purges magic and enchantment from organizations by Weberian bureaucratic acts of hierarchy, rules, standardization, routinization, and standardization.
  4. It combines with digital technologic and digital signification to reduce the mystery of a education to code, in a digital machine assemblage that becomes a rhizomatic assemblage of digitized instruction, digital measures of faculty performance, digital rankings of university, college, disciplines, and journals.
  5. It collapses bodies, machine, and language into one another in an interlacing ontology, called the digital technological assemblage.

This ‘digital technological assemblage’ is producing a radical shift in public university practices that endured since mid-12th century with out their help. The assumption that public university science, research, teaching, and service has improved in the digital age, needs to be questioned: what is being lost?

There is a loss of enchantment in the public university brought on by technological collapse embodiment of teaching, research, and service, as the digital technologies interlace and morph into moving assemblages of students as digital customers, faculty as digital measures, teaching as digital machines, and everything as digital significations of outcomes assessment.

As enchantment is displaced, the public university transformation conflates students as consumers, humans as resources, and digital technology is efficient pedagogy and administrative aspects of the material conditions of faculty and student life.

The result is public university is valued by its immediate digital utility and digital functionality in all phases of teaching, research, and service. The university ranking, the ranking of disciplines, the ranking of journal faculty publish in, all become the means of digital calculation of value.

Utility and functionality are sustained in a network of neoliberal beliefs, assumptions, and values, rather than as facts.

Is Neoliberalism a Straw Man Argument: A Counter-Narrative

An economist colleague I have worked with for 20 years, tells me, ‘neoliberalism is a straw man.’

Yes, neoliberalism is a straw man if used inductively,  tossed around as a way to characterize opponents of one’s own economic position. Ideologies are straw men, every one of theme. However, if there is a deductive theory of neoliberalism, complete with premises, then according to Karl Popper, we can use falsification (testing of the premises), but still cannot use verification of case after case, one by one. In such a deductive approach to falsification we should be able to deduce if an idea system, policies, strategic agenda, etc. is neoliberal economic theory.

Let’s Try Science: How to develop a deductive theory of neoliberalism?

First let’s define neoliberalism premises. Paul Treanor gives this widely quoted definition:

“Neoliberalism is a philosophy in which the existence and operation of a market are valued in themselves, separately from any previous relationship with the production of goods and services . . . and where the operation of a market or market-like structure is seen as an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action, and substituting for all previously existing ethical beliefs.” (“Neoliberalism: Origins, Theory, Definition.”).

Let’s adapt Treanor’s definition, to neoliberalism theory to New Mexico’s public universities.

We can rewrite the definition as follows and give it an Adam Smith:

Neoliberalism is a system of ideas (or ideology) in which the operation of ‘free market’ such as oil and gas in New Mexico, is tied to public services, such as public universities, and where the operation of the market’s ups and downs, is seen as the movement of the ‘invisible hand’, an ethic-in-itself, capable of guiding human action, and displacing all previously existing beliefs.

Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations, g. ed. p. 456) says “By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it.”

It’s interesting that the Scottish economist preferred to build up a country’s own industry, and that such a self-interest, would “led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention”.

If I understand Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ theory, that be acting in self-interest, the market promote an end that is somehow a greater good. The market, can therefore be said to have ‘agency’ to which ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA).TINA is shorthand for “There Is No Alternative” to neoliberal reality of market driven public education financing. TINA!

In times of highly turbulent socioeconomic crisis, radical changes to public universities are not all that difficult to make. If oil and gas prices fall in New Mexico, we are told ‘There Is No Alternative.’ I keep being told, ‘TINA!’, when I propose alternatives to the cutting of faculty and staff slots, the cancellations of classes, the wholesale dismantling of entire academic programs at the public university, where I work.

As Stanly Fish puts it, “ethics” is reduced “to calculations of wealth and productivity”.  In this approach, administrators can let there hiring and firing decisions be dictated by the market forces, just calculate the wealth and productivity involved. End or story. No ethics involved!


Rather than asking the State legislature and the governor to come up with alternatives to the loss of jobs in K-12 and public universities, and the diminishing number of students willing to enroll, and to sit down and come up with alternatives, we are told the ‘free market’ its invisible hand, will sort it all out.  We are just told TINA, get over it already.

Is that all there is? There is no alternative to neoliberal free market financing of public universities?

Here is the logic of the neoliberal ideology in higher education: Question the administrator asks: “Is the value of this older tenured faculty productivity, when lost to the next budget cut,  greater or less in  Instruction and General (I&G) State dollars that would be allocated to replace the older professor with two  younger adjunct lecturers on short term contract, who will double the number of credit hours produced?”

If the answer is ‘yes’ the older faculty person provides more value than the resultant I&G dollars saved, the principle of ‘invisible hand kicks in’ and the old faculty position stays.

If the answer is ‘no’ the old faculty person provides less value than the resultant I&G dollars, the principle of ‘invisible hand still kicks in’ and the faculty position goes away so only one adjunct can be hired, who are more productive in terms of more credit hours realized.

PREMISE TWO: Starving The Beast

The beast is ‘ public education’ in general, and the ‘public university, specifically. The self-interest is to not pay for it with taxpayer money. To bring that about, there is a strategy called ‘starving the beast. It has several events, in sequence.

First event, peg funding of a state such as New Mexico to a market, such as oil and gas. This happened in New Mexico in 2008-2009 legislative session, under Governor Bill Richardson watch.

Second event, when the market drops, demand cost cuts to the institution’s budget. A few months ago, $5.7 million in cuts resulted in 120 positions cut, dismantling the Engineering Survey Department, equestrian center, and employee side of the health center being outsourced to Memorial Medical Center.  Yesterday, Legislature finished meeting, and demanded another 5% cut in public university allocations.

Third event, use cost control as legitimation to institute organization redesign, reengineering processes. The $618,905 spent on Deloitte consultants who proposed staff reductions (mainly by attrition) and a business process reengineering program to regularize span of control reporting relationships.

  •  STARVING THE BEAST “examines the on-going power struggle on college campuses across the nation as political and market-oriented forces push to disrupt and reform America’s public universities. The film documents a philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education as a ‘value proposition’ to be borne by the beneficiary of a college degree rather than as a ‘public good’ for society. Financial winners and losers emerge in a struggle poised to profoundly change public higher education. The film focuses on dramas playing out at the University of Wisconsin, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Louisiana State University, University of Texas and Texas A&M.” See film clip http://www.starvingthebeast.net/the-save-act/

Neoliberalism politicians wanted to “starve the beast’ lowering taxes in time period one, so when the beast is starving in budget deficit in time period two, then force it to cut spending and into downsizing of faculty and staff and programs in time period three. Its an intentional process to starve the University-Beast, to force it into budget deficit, then into forced reengineered labor processes.

PREMISE THREE: Academic Capitalism As the reorganization proceeds on the academic side of the public university there is greater likelihood of academic capitalism taking root.

Academic capitalism’ contributed to the mishandling of the Macchiarini case by officials at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, argues Olof Hallonsten., 03 October 2016. Olof concludes, Corporate culture has no place in academia.

Neoliberal governors (republican and democrat) are saying the same thing, We are facing a massive budget crises, so TINA. With public university shrinking, the corporate university has more space to take over the old public university real estate. University education under corporate control is the end game of neoliberalism, a net-feudal society, where all teachers work for corporate overloads. Financial implosion si producing justification to make a corporate autrocacy (Naomi Klein, Shock Effect). What is the last thing standing in the way of neoliberalism take over of public university to make them privatized. It is our staff unions. To drastically remake New Mexico public university education, the staff unions, that beast is being starved, so that TINA takes over, and radical reorganization is implemented, and its name is business process reengineering.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXJOSMgA34c

Global capitalism is a global initiative, a movement to turn public universities into university businesses. As academic capitalism movement enters New Mexico, public universities are abandoning shared faculty governance, in order to hunt for money to deal with one budget crisis after another, and ways to brand and rebrand the university to be a stronger brand. For principles and mission of New Mexico public universities are at risk of being replace with management practice and values form the corporate world. (Nature 538, 7 (06 October 2016)

With the competition for business college rankings, and university competitive ranking, the risk of fraud increases.  Universities want to increase the rankings in order to bringing more students, attract better professors, and obtain more federal research grant awards.

The core principle of faculty shared governance is self-organization, rather than corporate managerial practices of top down control.

“Academic capitalism: is counter to shared faculty governance, and degrade research, teaching and service to be subordinate to economic goals of market force

Has NMSU and UNM abandoned sound academic practices in favor of maximizing the ranking of colleges and university in the free market competition.

PREMISE FOUR: Concentration of power in hands of wealth elite (Harvey, 2005: 19).“The income gap between New Mexico’s richest and poorest households is the widest in the nation, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. The average income of the top 20% of households is 9.9 times the average income of the bottom 20%.” (Nov 2012  http://www.nmvoices.org/archives/2417).

“Over the course of the last economic cycle, from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, the incomes of New Mexico’s richest fifth of households grew by 30.2% percent while those of New Mexico’s poorest fifth grew by just 7.4%. IBID.

“Underlying extreme inequality in New Mexico are serious problems in the state’s job market,” Bradley said. “New Mexico has an array of jobs: excellent jobs, good jobs, poor jobs, and no jobs. The excellent jobs are in the national labs and at Intel;  the good jobs are in health care, manufacturing, and education; the bad jobs are the poverty-level jobs in hotels, restaurants and call centers; and the ‘no jobs’ are because the demand for labor in New Mexico is very weak for workers with low levels of education.” IBID.


New Mexico needs to get over the TINA narrative that says gas and oil market forces, the invisible hand determines funding for education. Our elected lawgivers are the agents who determine whether or not, education has a rainy day fund, a permanent fund to finance public education. Two other states, Alaska and Texas, have rainy day funds for education, to ride out a turbulent spiraling tornado.  Other states, besides Alaska and Texas, such as Mississippi, have lawgivers who set higher Earth natural element (oil, gas, coal, and so on) severance taxes to fund public education (among other things). And this explains why New Mexico has low public university graduation rates, why lawgivers as elected agents, are shortchanging public education K-12, and public universities, to the disadvantage of the poorest of children, and second poorest of families in the United States of America.

There is an Alternative, and its called the Permanent Fund, for rainy days, like today.


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