The Phenomenology of Social Distancing

Prof Havi Carel

Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Wednesday, 18 November 2020. 18:00

To register for the free event, please email [email protected] for a link to the webinar

The Phenomenology of Social Distancing

In this talk I analyse the recent phenomenon of social distancing, arguing that recent restrictions aimed at preventing the transmission of covid-19 have had a profound impact on our personal and social worlds. Using key phenomenological ideas, such as being in the world, being with, the intelligibility of our shared world and the centrality of touch and embodiment, I suggest that our everyday experience has been profoundly disrupted by the restrictions, causing significant changes to the ways in which we inhabit our social and physical world. I end by characterising these changes asĀ global uncertainty: the loss of a once pre-reflective trust or confidence that envelops one's experience of the world as a whole.


Professor Carel has written "My current research explores the phenomenology of illness. I believe that as embodied persons we experience illness primarily as a disruption of lived body rather than as a dysfunction of biological body. But medicine has traditionally focused on returning the biological body to normal functioning. A phenomenological approach can provide a framework for incorporating the experience of illness into medicinal account and practice by providing a rich description of the altered relationship of the ill person to the world," In addition to her work at the University of Bristol Professor teaches at the Bristol Medical School.

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