COVID-19 diagnoses: a source of immanent values and novelty

Rosengarten, Marsha. 2021. COVID-19 diagnoses: a source of immanent values and novelty. Medical Anthropology Theory, 8(2), pp. 1-10. [Article]

Rosengarten, M. (2021) COVID-19 Diagnoses.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (263kB) | Preview
[img] Text (COVID-19 Diagnoses: A source of immanent values and novelty)
MAT final submission.pdf - Accepted Version
Permissions: Administrator Access Only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (110kB)

Abstract or Description

Although the body is fundamental to observation and feeling, its experience of infection is regarded by the biomedical sciences and, for the most part, the social sciences as relatively obtuse. The body is situated as a mere object of inquiry, as if its intricate and highly complex dynamics indicate that it is no more than an imperfect animated machine and, concomitantly, infection simply a change to its normative mechanisms. In this Position Piece, I ask: what might be afforded to the problematic diagnosis of communicable infection and to global health strategies of containment if the body were appreciated as an active participant in diagnoses? To do so, I take up the ‘pluralist panpsychist’ proposition that bodies think. Counter to the view that thinking is the preserve of the human mind and that value is an ‘after’ ascribed to a given fact or situation, I experiment with the idea that the body’s sensory awareness can be thought as a creative source of immanent values. Drawing on a series of empirical examples primarily focused on the perceived novelty of COVID-19, I offer a preliminary sketch of how revaluing the body as involved in decision-making and novelty might enrich the scope of biomedical and social diagnoses.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


COVID-19, infection, immanent values, novelty, diagnosis

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP) [2016-]


4 March 2021Accepted
18 June 2021Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2021 11:17

Last Modified:

22 Jun 2021 08:52

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)