A terrestrial ethics of storymaking for sustainable enterprise

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A ‘terrestrial ethics’ for ‘storymaking’ is constructed through Hannah Arendt’s notion political action. This ethics is rooted ontologically in Arendt’s notion of natality—rebirth, renewal and new beginnings. Arendt frames natality in the context of living a happy life, which lies in a memory of a ‘past that never was’. This is a memory of being born from the world in all its multiple variations and diverse species that we all depend on. Action is ultimately tied to this encounter with the happy life and to natality. Action occurs through storytelling and requires a space of appearance. Storytelling is re-theorized into ‘storymaking’ to underline the embodied and material character of storytelling. Storymaking thus captures how sociomaterial conditions of the Terrestrial are embedded and embodied in the terrestrial ethics of storymaking. We adopt Arendt’s terms labor, work and action to reflect upon sustainable business storymaking, which we argue is emergent, situated and creates spaces for multiplicities instead of being stuck in institutionalized, monologic and petrified linear narratives. Arendt is concerned with creating what we call ‘antenarrative processes’ constitutive of ‘storymaking’ with grounding in terrestrial conditions and communities. Sustainable storymaking pursues a thirdness captured by Arendt’s notion of amor mundi—the love that unities self and others that revitalizes history in the present and future and is embedded in the eternal recurrence of all biological processes, social life and communities. We contribute four storymaker precepts: abstracting, grounding, rehistroricizing, and futuring.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBusiness Storytelling and Sustainability
EditorsKenneth Mølbjerg Jørgensen
PublisherWorld Scientific
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 2021

Cite this

Jørgensen, K. M., Svane, M., & Boje, D. M. (Accepted/In press). A terrestrial ethics of storymaking for sustainable enterprise. In K. M. Jørgensen (Ed.), Business Storytelling and Sustainability World Scientific.